LeBron James makes embarrassing mistake during Lakers defeat to Suns
After the Suns extended their lead to 13 points in the third quarter, James collected the ball and nonchalantly threw it towards Brandon Ingram.
The pass did not reach its intended target, however, hitting the backboard and gifting the Suns possession.
Ingram visibly flailed his arms in frustration at James’ complacency while ‘The King’ wore a blank expression.
It was indicative of the malaise that has come over Lakers performances in recent weeks.
The loss leaves the Lakers’ playoff hopes in tatters as they now trail eighth-placed LA Clippers by five wins.
The Suns have the worst record in the NBA and Saturday’s win was only their 13th of the season, reflecting the dismal state of affairs in Los Angeles.
Two wins in six since the All-Star break have ruined the side’s postseason chances as disharmony looks rife among the roster.
Luke Walton’s side’s bad run began when James sustained a groin strain on Christmas Day, not returning until late January.
In 17 matches without their talisman, the Lakers registered six victories, but the camp’s mood was rocked even when the four-time MVP returned.
President Magic Johnson was determined to sign New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, and offered five of the young crop to seal the deal.
Negotiations eventually broke down shortly prior to the February trade deadline, but the disposability of the squad was clear.
James is still moving gingerly at times and, with an unmotivated roster alongside him, has struggled to spearhead a surge for the top eight.
Shooting guard Josh Hart said after the Suns loss: “We’ve got to do a better job of bringing our own energy, finding that and executing.
“We can’t take plays off. We got to realise that every game matters. Every possession matters. That goes for all of us.”
Rising star Kyle Kuzma was similarly damning after defeat, saying: “We’re losing to teams that we shouldn’t lose to.
“We lost to like every bad team in the league. That’s unacceptable.”