As the Lakers get blown out by Chris Paul and his Phoenix Suns, NBA on TNT crew member Shaquille O’Neal blasts the defending champions.
In the 2020-2021 campaign, the Lakers have had the most unexpected season by far. The defending champions went from being strong title-contenders to barely making the NBA playoffs.
Clinching the 7th seed, LAL faces the in-form and confident Phoenix Suns team led by veteran Chris Paul as their first-round matchup. After the series was 2-2 tied, many analysts had the Lakers winning the series despite Anthony Davis being injured. However, the young Suns team entered the game with all guns blazing, capitalising on the absence of the Laker big-man.
Much to the Lakers surprise, the Suns blew them out 115-85. Grabbing an incredible 30-point win, Phoenix guard Devin Booker led his team with his 30-point and 7-rebounds performance to eclipse LeBron James’ 24-point outing.
“The Lakers played with no heart nor with any pride”: Shaquille O’Neal
It was a shocking sight to see the Lakers looking so lethargic. Ever since tip-off, the defending champions just didn’t look like their regular selves. Clearly, the Phoenix Suns were the stronger and more determined team who played their hearts out.
Suffering such an embarrassing defeat, former Los Angeles Laker legend Shaquille O’Neal criticised Bron and his boys. Shaq said:
“As a former Laker, they played soft, they played with no heart, played with no pride, played with no sense of urgency. LeBron James, Mr Big Show, he didn’t play great.”
“When it comes to Lakers and great championship teams, they play with pride, you know. We always didn’t even have all our players healthy. But we still played with pride. The starters played well, the starters played when they were hurt and the others stepped up.”
Shaq reacts to the Lakers’ 30-point loss to Phoenix in Game 5. pic.twitter.com/zkXlh7IcPy
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 2, 2021
With the Lakers trailing the series 3-2, each game is a do or die for them. But if we have learned one thing from history, it is to never rule Mr King James out of any series till it actually is over.