‘Inside the NBA’ panel roasts Lakers after blowout Game 5 loss to Suns
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of elimination after a rough showing in a blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night. To no surprise, the panel of “Inside the NBA” had some compelling and brutal commentary on the team’s woeful performance in the 115-85 setback that gave the Suns a 3-2 series lead.
The Anthony Davis-less Lakers looked completely overmatched in Phoenix, and LeBron James was not able to rally the troops and overcome the setback. Back on the NBA on TNT set, Shaquille O’Neal laid into the Lakers in a lengthy, scathing screed that called out seemingly every Laker who played in Game 5.
“As a former Laker, I have G-14 classification to say what I’m about to say,” O’Neal told the rest of the panel, as transcribed by Sporting News. “They played soft. They played with no heart. They played with no pride, and they played with no sense of urgency. LeBron had 24 points. One starter had seven. One had four. Then you’ve got two starters that had zero. When one guy goes down, next man’s gotta step up. Every team has that guy [saying], ‘I wish I had more shots. I wish I had more opportunities.’ You gotta step up. Not only that, they’re giving that money away now. This is your chance to make a name for yourself.
“Kyle Kuzma, like we’ve been waiting for Kyle Kuzma to be that guy. I need a 30-piece from Kyle Kuzma. [Anthony Davis is] out. Somebody gotta step up. ‘Bron, ‘Mr. Big Show,’ he didn’t play great, and I’m sure he’s gonna come back and play great. But when it comes to the Lakers and the great championship teams, they played with pride. We [didn’t] always have all our players healthy, but we still played with pride. The stars played well. The stars played when they were hurt, and the others stepped up.”
Charles Barkley, meanwhile, directed his ire at Davis, who missed Game 5 due to a strained right groin. The outspoken NBA analyst even came up with a savage nickname for the superstar whose inability to stay healthy has dogged him his entire career.
The new moniker? “Street Clothes.”
“They can’t win this series without Street Clothes,” Barkley said during postgame coverage, leading to a brief awkward silence before he was asked the meaning behind the nickname. “I call him Anthony ‘Street Clothes’ Davis, because he’s always in street clothes.”
For a change, Shaq and Sir Charles appeared to be on the same page when it came to the Lakers. It stood in stark contrast to how the two frequently butt heads during no-holds-barred arguments.
In fact, O’Neal even offered Barkley an olive branch as the studio show got underway Tuesday night.
Setting the fireworks seen on “Inside the NBA” aside and focusing on the Lakers, the defending champs have the chance to extend their season Thursday night when the team hosts the Suns at Staples Center for Game 6. If James and the Lakers — and perhaps Davis, though that remains unclear at this stage — cannot notch a victory, it will be a stunning end to a season where L.A. was not expected to bow out this early.