LeBron James is not having an awful lot of fun playing basketball right now. The Lakers are currently on pace to finish with the worst record a LeBron-led team has ever had — both his rookie-year Cavs and first-year Lakers went 37-45, which would require a 8-6 close to this season for L.A. to match that, which seems unlikely — and the losing seems to be taking its toll on James.
LeBron has managed to remain fairly calm on the court this season, but after getting blown out on Sunday night in Phoenix, the Lakers came home on Monday and got smacked once again by the Toronto Raptors, trailing 33-12 after the first quarter. Things didn’t get much better as the game wore on for the Lakers, as their deficit hovered around 20 for most of the night, and a second straight night in which his team wasn’t competitive seemed to finally be showing its effect on LeBron. First, there was this outburst in the second quarter after the Raptors got fouled after an offensive rebound in which he lit into his teammates for failing to clear the glass.
Not long after, James was chasing down a long rebound and battling Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes — who had a big first half in L.A. with 17 points — and corralled it as he was headed out of bounds and Barnes was sliding on the floor behind him. As James wheeled around to throw it off Barnes to get L.A. possession, he seemed to put a little extra something behind it, launching it into poor Barnes on the floor.
You could see that Barnes popped up not exactly appreciating the velocity of James’ throw, and it’s hard to blame him for being less than thrilled to end up on the wrong end of James’ release of frustration.