LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are in real trouble. After a 123-113 loss on the road against the Phoenix Suns, they have a 31-28 record and remain in 9th place of the Western Conference.

Although there’s a lot of basketball to be played, the Lakers could be staring at elimination without the proper adjustments. The positive side of the story is that there’s a ‘comfortable cushion’ of four games between them and the Utah Jazz (No. 11 seed).

The big problem for the King and company is that they have failed to stop two stars like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant in consecutive games. To make things worse, the calendar in front of LA is just brutal.

Clippers, Washington, Denver, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Minnesota. Six of those seven teams have a better record than the Lakers and maybe, two weeks from now, they could even be out of play-in zone.

LeBron James laughs at free-throw narrative in the NBA

During the last few days, national media has pointed out that the Lakers are the team with the most free throws per game. When asked about that ‘recipe for success’, LeBron James laughed as the referees just gave them eight trips to the line at Phoenix.

“That’s who we are. But a lot of people, a lot of coaches, a lot of teams, are like, that’s all the Lakers do. Get to the free-throw line. There’s like this narrative out there that all we do is get to the free throw line. I mean, we have attackers. That’s what we do.”

According to James, referees may begin to be predisposed to the criticism the Lakers receive for seeking so many plays in the paint. The King stated that it is their playing style and they are not a team that can play a three-point shooting game like, for example, the Warriors.

“Yeah, we shoot the ball from the perimeter, but we¡re not shooting 40, 50 threes a game. We’re not that team. We don’t have the luxury of being that team. We’re getting to the paint. That’s what we’re really good at. To have eight free throw attempts is definitely not us. I know definitely I got hit a couple times going to the paint tonight that wasn’t called, but it is what it is.”

Darvin Ham blames referees for Lakers’ loss at Phoenix

Darvin Ham was much more emphatic than LeBron in his complaints towards the officials, pointing out that it’s not acceptable for them to receive only eight free throws in a game against a rival like the Phoenix Suns.

“I’m seeing our guys get the same contact on them as we’re supposedly committing and the whistle is not being blown. I’m not one to use referees as an excuse, but it’s becoming increasingly tough because of the inconsistency. And that’s something we focus on. Trying to win the free throw line every day. That’s tough. I’m telling my guys to drive downhill. We’re trying to love and live in the paint. And you’re not getting calls.”

SURVEY Will the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs?

Will the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs?