07:56 GMT15 June 2021
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    The Lakers are the first defending champions to lose at such an early stage since the San Antonio Spurs’ exit in 2015. Fans blamed the team’s misfortunes on injuries. James himself missed a total of 26 games after he sprained his ankle in March.

    Reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs. The team was shockingly beaten by the Phoenix Suns 100-113. However, the Lakers' defeat was not the only thing that stunned viewers. The team’s star LeBron James walked off the court without shaking hands with his rivals, which prompted criticism from sports pundits and fans.

    ​The news came two days after the four-time NBA champion raised eyebrows during the fifth game against the Phoenix Suns. James, who was apparently frustrated with the Lakers' performance, left the bench and headed straight into the locker room five minutes before the end of the fourth quarter.

    ​The athlete scored 29 points during the latest game. However, his behaviour, which many described as "unsportsmanlike", upset numerous basketball fans.

    "F**k LeBron James. This Lakers team dirty as f**k", wrote one supporter.

    ​Many netizens accused the athlete of being a sore loser and noted that other basketball legends like Michael Jordan never acted like that.

    However, were also those who defended James.

    ​After beating the Lakers, the Phoenix Suns are set to face the Denver Nuggets, who earlier beat the Portland Trail Blazers in a 4-2 series win.

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    Tags:
    basketball, playoffs, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers
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