February 21, 2024

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The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned the first In-Season Tournament (IST) champions just under a month ago. 

Since defeating the Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas to win the tournament, the Lakers have gone 3-10 and have now lost four straight games after Friday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

LeBron James, #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, looks on during the game on January 5, 2024, at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.  (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

A down LeBron James spoke to the media at his locker following the game and offered a blunt assessment of his team’s play. 

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“I’m not thinking that far in the past, to be honest,” James said when asked whether the Lakers’ issues presented themselves before their current stretch of games. “We just suck right now.”

James put the IST victory, which the Lakers celebrated by hanging a banner at their home arena, in perspective. 

“It was two games though. That’s a small sample. Everybody is getting so cracked up about Vegas. Keep bringing up Vegas,” James said when asked whether the team that won the IST “still exists.”

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Crypto.com Arena.  (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

“It was two games. We took care of that business. That was the In-Season Tournament. We played. We won it. But that was literally just two games.” 

On Friday night, the Lakers lost 127-113 to a Memphis team that earned just its 12th win of the season. The Grizzlies hit a season-high eight three-pointers, including five from center Jaren Jackson Jr. 

“Wearing this uniform, you get a lot of flack, and guys are watching you under a microscope as a team,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said. “You have a couple of bad games, lose a couple in a row, you can’t lose your confidence. Can’t be on social media, listening to whatever people are saying. We’ve got to stay together in this locker room and find our way out of it. There’s no help coming. There’s no cavalry. We’ve got to do it with the guys we’ve got and remain together.”

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LeBron James scores against Memphis

LeBron James, #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, scores a basket against David Roddy, #21 of the Memphis Grizzlies, during the first half at Crypto.com Arena on January 5, 2024, in Los Angeles, California.  (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Before the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said he continues to have the support of the decision-makers in the organization. 

“I’m solid,” Ham said, according to ESPN. “My governor, Jeanie Buss, the boss lady; our president, Robert Pelinka, we’re all aligned. As long as they’re not saying it, I guess I’m good. Which I know how they feel about me and the situation we’re currently in.”

The Lakers next face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.