LeBron James went back to the locker room with more than five minutes remaining in the blowout playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, which put the Los Angeles Lakers on the brink of elimination.
James was taken out of the game as the Suns were leading 105-73. Phoenix would go on to win the game 115-85 and go up 3-2 on the defending NBA champions.
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James led the Lakers with 24 points, but without Anthony Davis the team didn’t even come close to gaining an advantage in the series. “The King” played 32 minutes and was not on the bench for the final 5:44.
“We got our ass kicked. It is that simple,” he said after losing consecutive first-round games for the first time in his 15-year career. “They did whatever they wanted to win this game.”
Suns guard Devin Booker led all scorers with 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field and was 2-for-6 from three-point range.
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“There’s nobody that’s scared of the moment,” Booker said. “We’re a confident team.”
Phoenix got a scare when Chris Paul left the game with an injured right shoulder in the third quarter. He did not return. He posted nine points, four rebounds and six assists.
He said he should be all right.
“It scared me. It was just a very uncomfortable feeling, kind of helpless,” Paul added.
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Phoenix could move on to the next round with a win over Los Angeles. Game 6 between is set for Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.