Kyrie Irving 'Very Empathetic' of 'Unfair' Criticisms of Lakers' LeBron James

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 2019

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 7: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics talk during the game on February 7, 2019 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

As the Los Angeles Lakers' season continues to spiral further out of control, LeBron James has found support from one of his former teammates. 

Per The Athletic's Joe Vardon on Saturday, Kyrie Irving said he's taking no joy in seeing how things have gone for James in his first season with the Lakers. 

"I feel for him. I really do. I feel for him," Irving said. "I'm very empathetic towards it because how much he wanted to play during that time when he messed up his groin."

The Boston Celtics star also called criticisms of James "a little unfair because of how much time he missed.”

Irving can empathize with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate because he knows what it's like to have a season derailed by injury. 

Last season, Irving missed the Celtics' final 34 games, including the playoffs, after undergoing two surgical procedures on his knee and patella.

The Celtics were able to reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to James' Cavs, without their All-Star point guard. 

James had the Lakers rolling with a 20-14 record before injuring his groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors. The team has lost 21 of its last 31 games, including a 6-11 mark in 17 games without the four-time NBA MVP. 

Los Angeles is currently 6.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 17 games remaining. 

With the Lakers falling out of playoff contention, Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Thursday that James will play fewer minutes per game and is likely to sit out the second night of back-to-backs. 

James' teams have made the playoffs in 14 straight seasons, and he's only missed the postseason twice in his NBA career. 


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