Shaquille O’Neal rips Lakers for pitiful Game 5 showing vs. Suns: ‘They played with no heart’

One Lakers legend had no problem voicing his disappointment and frustration after watching Phoenix brutally beat down Los Angeles in a 115-85 victory.

During Tuesday’s “NBA on TNT” postgame show, Shaquille O’Neal blasted the Lakers, a team that suddenly finds itself on the brink of elimination heading back to the Staples Center for Game 6. The Hall of Famer handed out criticism to almost everyone involved in the debacle.

“As a former Laker, I have G-14 classification to say what I’m about to say,” O’Neal told the rest of the panel. “They played soft. They played with no heart. They played with no pride, and they played with no sense of urgency. LeBron had 24 points. One starter had seven. One had four. Then you’ve got two starters that had zero. When one guy goes down, next man’s gotta step up. Every team has that guy [saying], ‘I wish I had more shots. I wish I had more opportunities.’ You gotta step up. Not only that, they’re giving that money away now. This is your chance to make a name for yourself.

“Kyle Kuzma, like we’ve been waiting for Kyle Kuzma to be that guy. I need a 30-piece from Kyle Kuzma. [Anthony Davis is] out. Somebody gotta step up. ‘Bron, ‘Mr. Big Show,’ he didn’t play great, and I’m sure he’s gonna come back and play great. But when it comes to the Lakers and the great championship teams, they played with pride. We [didn’t] always have all our players healthy, but we still played with pride. The stars played well. The stars played when they were hurt, and the others stepped up.”

It should be noted that starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went scoreless but was ruled out after playing only 15 minutes because of a left knee contusion, an injury he had suffered earlier in the series. Dennis Schroder, on the other hand, simply played poorly, shooting 0 of 9 from the field in 26 minutes. The other starters, Andre Drummond (seven points) and Markieff Morris (four points), weren’t much better.

While James totaled 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the loss, he didn’t play up to his usual standards. He knows that the Lakers’ effort and intensity levels must improve dramatically if they want to extend the series.

“We got our ass kicked. It’s just that simple,” James said. “They did [and] got to whatever they wanted to get to in this game. We got to be better obviously if we want to force a Game 7. Obviously a lot to learn from in this game, a lot to cover, see what we gotta do better going into Game 6. They pretty much just kicked our ass. There’s nothing else to say.”

Thursday’s Game 6 will be broadcast on TNT, so whatever happens in that contest, we will definitely know how Shaq feels about it.

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