LeBron blasts NBA as playoff injuries mount

Agence France-Presse June 17,2021 - 07:45 AM
James

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts on the bench during the second half in Game Five of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Phoenix Suns Arena on June 01, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Los Angeles—Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James slammed the NBA on Wednesday as Clippers star Kawhi Leonard became the latest player forced out of the playoffs by injury.

James took to Twitter to offer an angry “I Told You So” to the league, blaming the increase in injuries on the shortest off-season ever, which has been followed by a compressed schedule for the 2020-21 campaign.

“They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season,” James tweeted. “I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”.”

Instead, James said, the injuries were due to the “lack of rest” before play restarted in December — just 72 days after the Lakers locked up the title with a victory over the Miami Heat in the quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz with a sprained right knee, suffered during the Clippers’ series-levelling win in game four on Monday.

Kawhi Leonard holds his knee during the second half against the Utah Jazz in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Staples Center on June 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.| Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

US media reports said Leonard could miss the remainder of the series, although the Clippers said there was “no timetable” for the two-time NBA champion’s return.

Leonard joins a phalanx of players who have been affected by injury in the playoffs, including James himself and teammate Anthony Davis — who suffered a groin strain during the Lakers’ first-round series loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers falls at the Laker bench in the first quarter during game six of the Western Conference first round series at Staples Center on June 03, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
| Photo by Harry How / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving is set to miss a second straight game of the Nets’ second-round series against Milwaukee after teammate James Harden missed three straight contests.

James

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets is injured during the first half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference second round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum on June 13, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
| Photo by Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The Philadelphia 76ers have coped with injuries that sidelined Joel Embiid, while Utah has dealt with injuries to Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

James noted that eight, possibly nine All-Star players have missed playoff games.

“This is the best time of the year for our league and fans but missing a ton of our fav players,” he tweeted. “It’s insane.”

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TAGS: Clippers, injuries, Kawhi Leonard, Lakers, lebron james, NBA, playoffs

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