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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers from the NBA Playoffs for the second straight season. Despite playing well, LeBron James’ team struggled to control the game’s tempo and ultimately couldn’t find an answer for the Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray pairing.

When speaking on a recent episode of the “Mind The Game” podcast, James shared his frustration at losing a series he believes was winnable.

“Obviously, going against the defending champions in the first round is always going to be a difficult challenge; we knew that coming into it,” James said. “But, f—, we had so many opportunities, man. But to lose in five, with two of them coming on as game-winners by Jamal and his greatness…One play here, one play there could have made a whole [lot] of difference…I believe we made too many errors.”

(Warning: Video contains inappropriate language.)

— Mind the Game (@mindthegamepod) May 8, 2024

James ended the series against Denver averaging 27.8 points, 8.8 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals while shooting 63% from two-point range and 38.5% from the perimeter. Unfortunately for James, even with such elite production, his Lakers team wasn’t positioned to overcome a Nuggets team that has consistently found success against them in recent seasons.

Losing that series cost Darvin Ham his job as the franchise’s head coach. Rob Pelinka and the front office will now be scouring the market for his replacement. However, adding a new head coach is the first step in re-tooling this Lakers roster. Denver isn’t going away. The Purple and Gold need to improve their supporting cast if they stand a chance of competing next season.

James is in the final stretch of his career. He has minimal time left in the NBA. He is still talented enough to compete for a championship. The Lakers owe him the opportunity to continue building his resume.

A third straight elimination at the hands of the Nuggets next season would be nothing short of catastrophic. Luckily for the Lakers, the Minnesota Timberwolves may be providing the blueprint for Pelinka to follow. Whether he’s willing to rebuild the roster again this summer will remain to be seen.

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