for LeBron James to swallow in his first season with the franchise.
"Obviously it's been a tough season for all of us," James said following the defeat, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "It's not what we signed up for.
"Throughout the year, things happened. Suspensions, injuries, things of that nature. And just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes. But you don't even try to wrap your head around it, you just keep pushing. Just try to get better tonight, move on to tomorrow, and go from there. Playoffs are never promised. You've got to come out and work. For me personally, you just continue to put the work in and see what you can do to help."
The Lakers are 3-12 since returning from the All-Star break, which is tied for the second-fewest wins in the Association during that span. Injuries plagued the roster for much of that run, with Lonzo Ball missing time with an ankle sprain and Brandon Ingram getting diagnosed with Deep Venous Thrombosis in his arm.
James has previously stated he has no intention of sitting out, but with the Lakers having nothing left to play for, he'll at least entertain the idea of limiting his minutes over the final 10 games.
"I'm probably going to have a conversation with the coaching staff and my trainer and go from there," he said. "But I love to hoop. S---, I'm going to have five months and not play the game. So, you know, hopefully I can be in as many games as possible."
This year will mark the first Finals matchup that doesn't include James since 2009-10. He's competed in the playoffs each year since 2004-05 and currently sits atop the all-time postseason scoring list with 6,911 total points.