On Sunday afternoon (March 17), the Los Angeles Lakers looked like they had a layup victory against the New York Knicks, even on the road. There have been no layups this season, though, and that includes a sudden collapse in Sunday's game. It wasn't surprising, as a team that isn't heading to the postseason just lost to another subpar squad in the league. Not only that, but it featured LeBron getting embarrassed with the potential game-winning shot and a Knicks great calling out his leadership ability. That prompted King James to speak about the latest loss and what went wrong.

He also gave his latest pitch to the upcoming NBA free agents. That may include Jimmy Butler whom the Lakers could make a big offer to this summer.

LeBron can't close game, embarrassed on final play

The story of today's game was the team with the league's worst overall record was hosting LeBron James in the "Mecca of basketball," Madison Square Garden. The L.A. Lakers recently reduced LeBron's playing time, even keeping him out of Friday's loss to the Detroit Pistons. However, King James was back on the court for today's game which really has no major bearing for either squad in terms of a win.

Despite the New York Knicks' aspirations of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery, this team didn't play to lose.

In fact, they played to seize the game in the final quarter, despite being down double digits to the Lakers. The Knicks would go on a 13-1 run to take the lead with little time remaining in the game. However, little time is not a major problem when you have LeBron James, right?

Not the case today at MSG, as the Knicks had an unsung hero.

Mario Hezonja played stellar defense on LeBron to close out the final seconds. Or did he? Some might say that LeBron wasn't as aggressive as he needed to be with that final play. Either way, he was absolutely embarrassed as Hezonja stuffed his shot attempt. The highlight clip below is the evidence.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Los Angeles Lakers had suffered another embarrassing loss, 124-123.

Against the Suns on the road, one could argue they were facing some decent talent in terms of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. Some consider Phoenix among the league's worst, but an overachieving team. The Knicks haven't been considered much of that this season, though. That said, both teams are still worse than the Lakers, at least record-wise.

James reacts to loss, gives free agents message

After the loss, reporters were sure to ask LeBron plenty of hard-hitting questions. The first matter at hand was what happened in the loss. LeBron didn't seem to blame any specific teammates and even praised the defense that Mario Hezonja played on him for the final play. James basically suggested the entire team played poorly in the final quarter.

LeBron also received a question about what the Lakers' message to free agents is for this summer. James said, "I don't know" at first, but then expanded a bit on his thoughts. He pitched Los Angeles to prospective free agents saying the "franchise caters to the players and everything else comes secondary." Bron also mentioned wanting the Lakers to "win big." The Spectrum Sportsnet clip includes LeBron's interview below.

LeBron mentioned in his interview how there's a lot of great free agents this summer.

However, he said he wasn't going to "name any names" mostly because of how the media can twist things around or the organization gets into trouble. However, he did make the interesting comment that this summer is an opportunity to "get better" and that it's "definitely great to know that from a personal standpoint."

It's clear that James probably has some players in mind. A lot of free agents have been mentioned including former teammate Kyrie Irving, Warriors' stars like Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, and Jimmy Butler. However, with the team falling so far in terms of the standings and record, maybe a huge trade involving a high draft pick will be in the works too.