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Despite 4th Quarter Disappearance, Magic Johnson Absolves LeBron James of Blame in Game 1 Loss

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Despite 4th Quarter Disappearance, Magic Johnson Absolves LeBron James of Blame in Game 1 Loss

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers failed to end their nine-game losing streak against the Denver Nuggets and fell 0-1 behind in this first-round series. Initially, LeBron James and Co. had their opponents on the ropes in the first half and even took a three-point lead into the halftime break. However, a 32-18 third quarter from Denver saw them take control of proceedings before they matched LA point-for-point in the fourth quarter to take the win.

Seemingly left incensed by what he had seen, Lakers icon Magic Johnson spoke out about the game strongly on X(Formerly Twitter). Here he made it abundantly clear that he believed neither LeBron James nor Anthony Davis was at fault for the franchise’s loss.

“This Lakers loss isn’t LeBron or AD’s fault. Just like I said the other day…the guards had to play well – and they didn’t. Dlo was 1/9 from the 3-point line, Reaves was quiet most of the game, and they only combined for 26 points.”

For those uninitiated, Johnson had claimed that the Lakers’ guards – D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Gabe Vincent, and Spencer Dinwiddie – will have to outplay the Nuggets’ trio of Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Christian Braun to really stand any kind of chance of upsetting Denver.

In Game 1, the Lakers’ quartet of guards combined for 26 points, while the Nuggets’ trio scored 36 (per Given this fact, it appears that Magic Johnson’s prediction was almost scarily on the money. Head coach Darvin Ham and the rest of the Lakers’ coaching staff need to find a way to maximize their guards’ shooting prowess, or risk falling at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

That said, while Johnson was in no mood to blame LeBron James, it doesn’t mean that the 39-year-old is blameless.

LeBron James needs to take over in the clutch


While Magic Johnson blamed the Lakers’ guards for the loss, LeBron James must also shoulder some responsibility for the defeat. The superstar attempted just four shots in the third quarter and only two in the fourth to finish with eight points in the second half (per, an underwhelming tally given the stakes.

For the Lakers to beat the Nuggets,  James and Anthony Davis will have to be in top form and take control of proceedings on the offensive end when their team is struggling. D’Angelo Russell attempting more shots (2-0f-9) than James in the second half is a recipe for failure for the Lakers.

If James defers to his teammates even when they’re having a rough shooting night, he should also be held responsible for LA’s shortcomings. The Lakers need their talisman to show up when the going gets tough to stand a chance of eliminating the Nuggets and keeping their season alive.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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