At crunch time at the line, LeBron is off line

LeBron James at the free-throw line with the game on the line has not been a good thing the last two seasons.

LeBron James called his two missed free throws at crunch time in overtime in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 143-142 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night, “unacceptable.”

However, coming up short at the charity stripe with the outcome in the balance is nothing new for James, at least since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

For his career, James is a 73.9-percent shooter from the free-throw line and despite the key misses Monday night, he is shooting 77.8 percent from the line in his three games as a Laker.

Even though the Lakers are off to an 0-3 start, James said it’s not been difficult to handle.

“It’s not tough,” James told reporters after the loss to San Antonio. “I know what I got myself into. It’s a process. I get it. And it will be fine.

“I didn’t come here thinking we were going to be blazing storms right out of the gate. It’s a process, and I understand that.”

James, 33, is keeping the faith in the Lakers improving. Los Angeles has allowed an average of 131.7 points in its first three games and shot only 28.7 from beyond the 3-point arc. James is off to a horrific start from deep, making good on only 3-of-19 attempts, 15.8 percent.

“We’re going to continue to get better,” he said. “We’re going to continue to get better. I like the direction we’re going in. Obviously, it’s not resulting in the wins right now, but it’s such a long process.”

James and his Lakers teammates will look for their initial win of the 2018-19 season Wednesday night at Phoenix. Los Angeles is a 2.5-point road favorite in the game.