Lakers coach Frank Vogel defends LeBron James leaving early in blowout loss

LeBron James left the court with almost six minutes remaining in the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 5 blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. When LeBron does something even a tiny bit unusual, the internet takes note. In fact, it usually freaks out.

As he left, the TNT play-by-play broadcaster mentioned the Lakers superstar might be leaving for early treatment on his ankle injury. After all, LeBron was very unlikely to reenter the game, which was already out of hand. But haters were already hating on LeBron for his early exit. That's probably why, in part, Lakers coach Frank Vogel addressed LeBron's dramatic exit.

"In terms of LeBron going in the back, LeBron had to start his treatment," Vogel said after the game. "It doesn't do any good for him to sit over there without getting worked on or beginning the treatment as soon as possible to help him get ready for Game 6."

5 minutes left in the game and LeBron has seen enough pic.twitter.com/JWbWNLAbje

Even with the knowledge that LeBron might be headed to the locker room to see L.A.'s trainers, NBA fans mercilessly roasted him. The internet can't resist the opportunity to dig at LeBron.

Here we go again. The Drama King leaves the bench with 5:40 left in this blowout and walks quickly up the tunnel to the locker room. Guess he doesn’t want to sit through the rest of this embarrassment like his teammates have to. Guess he doesn’t want to be associated w this shame

The optics of the moment may not have looked good for L.A. or LeBron. But from a practical sense, they seem to have been in the right. If they win in Game 6 – perhaps in part because LeBron got an early jump on his recovery – no one will be talking about it.

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