Lost six of the past seven games with just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the defending defender of the Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t look like the championship team now.
And after Sunday’s 121-114 defeat at Staples Center for the Toronto Raptors coming in 12 games below. 500 LA is hardly similar to a playoff team.
At the age of 36-28, they now hold the same record as the Portland Trailblazer, currently seventh in the Western Lakers conference, just sixth because they seized the tiebreakers. Against Portland from defeating Blazer on February 26.
This year, being seventh doesn’t guarantee you a first-round playoff series.The NBA will host play-ins where teams 7 and 8 face each other, and teams that were numbered 9 and 10 will. Play with the winner of games 7-8 to advance to the first round and the loser in games 7-8 will win the games 9-10 to determine the final playoff moves at each meeting.
When asked about the 71-day off-season shutdown of 72 games, having to win extra games to qualify for the post-season, Lakers’ star LeBron James joins Chorus who are criticizing the style of play in the New York Times. More styles
“Anyone who came up with it — must be fired,” said James.
The fact that the Lakers have to comment on the potential playing situation says everything, considering February the team started 21-6 and appeared to be in a great position to defend the title.
But a pain in the calf and hamstring in Anthony Davis’s right leg made him miss nine weeks, and his right ankle made a six-week miss for James, and suddenly L.A. found himself with more questions than answers, with the rest. Only eight games are left in the regular game-season schedule.
The first comes on the second night of Monday’s return to play with Nikola Jokic, front runner MVP and Denver Nuggets.
James, who was held in the last six minutes 42 seconds on Sunday after suffering a sore right ankle, may not even play.
“I certainly want to be healthy, not only But for myself But for our team, ”James said, insisting he will make a decision based on his feelings on Monday. “I have to be sure where my ankle is before I get hurt. I have to be smart with it.”
In terms of uncertainty, James places more emphasis on health and recovery than chasing victory for semi-final seeding.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if I’m not 100% or close to 100%,” he said, “it doesn’t matter where we get there.”
Adding to the level of concern for the Lakers is the fact that Davis in his sixth game coming back from an injury looks like his game, as did James in his second game – if not more.
Davis scored 12 points on shooting 5 of 16 (including 0 from 3 of 3) against Toronto, with nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals and L.A. scored. More than 11 in the 33 minutes he played
“You get used to minutes 20-25 [range]And now you add another 10 minutes, 12 more minutes, and now you have to catch the wind that lasts for the rest of the game, ”Davis said.
When asked if he was talented while being the same man who dominated the first season in LA, he said: “I really think I can be.”
But he also offered an honest assessment of where the Lakers stood, dealing with another setback before the Raptors game when it was revealed Dennis Schroeder would be leaving due to the health and safety of the league.
“Right now the whole team is in a state of depression, no more drought. But it’s gathered at both ends of the ball, ”Davis said.“ This is the lowest thing we’ve ever done in a while… but the only way up, we can’t get any lower. ”
The Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was less diplomatic.
“I don’t think we are connected right now, I think we are not healthy and not good enough,” Kuzma said. “We are not together, the whole team, the staff, everything.”
When asked what he could do to start repairing what was causing the Lakers’ rut, Kuzma suggested more playtime to center on Marc Gasol, whose role has been limited since LA signed big-man Andre Drummond left. Acquisition market Other than that, he was at a loss for words.
“I don’t know, man, it’s very difficult, it’s just an unfortunate situation,” he said. “It’s difficult. It’s difficult. It’s difficult. I’m not sure what to do.”
Davis mentioned, perhaps, only to remind himself of what many on the roster had achieved last season when they won them all. There is pride that comes with that and it is not dead.
“It’s not fun when you lose. But at the end of the day we are champions, the men, just like us, are the champions, we are the defending champions, ”Davis said.