LOS ANGELES — There changed into no denial, no hope, no fury, no sadness. The Los Angeles Lakers, beset by way of injuries and slipping similarly down the Western Conference standings by using the day, have general their fate.
The blank expressions and empty cliches had been out in complete pressure after LeBron James and Co. Misplaced for the 5th time in six video games Monday, falling to the crosstown Clippers, 113-a hundred and five. Talk of a playoff push, all the rage as recently as ten days ago, all but evaporated, with the Lakers losing to five. Five video games out of the 8th seed with 18 games to play.
The essential projection fashions now give the Lakers much less than a one percent risk to make the postseason; the eye test gives them no chance. This is a lottery crew, and the Lakers understand it.
“You keep gambling to the end and notice what happens,” James said flatly. “Everyone has been talking approximately the postseason. However, we need to fear approximately every and every recreation and how we can get higher with our crew. At the stop of the year, the chips will fall wherein they may.”
Already reeling after an inexcusable loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, the Lakers misplaced Brandon Ingram to shoulder soreness Monday morning and Kyle Kuzma to an ankle harm Monday night. With Lonzo Ball and Lance Stephenson already in street clothes, the depleted Lakers stumbled to the finish line against the more in-depth and extra cohesive Clippers.
“The accidents are taking a toll on us,” James said. “I haven’t been part of a season with this many accident to all of our key guys. Big, huge key men. That’s simply the way this season has been. … We prided ourselves on our intensity at the start of the season, but glaringly our intensity has diminished over the route of the previous few weeks.”
Barring a miracle, James, who made the Finals in every of the beyond eight seasons, will leave out the postseason for the primary time since 2004-05, his second season. The Lakers are on target to overlook the playoffs for the 6th straight time, the longest drought in the franchise’s 71-12 months history.
James played forty-two minutes Monday, just one off his season excessive. However, the Lakers noticed their high-quality risk to opposite their past due-season downward momentum disappear one bricked 3-pointer at a time. Indeed, the league’s 0.33-worst out of doors shooting group died because it had lived, taking pictures just 10 for 38 from past the arc and drawing scattered boos and chants of “We want Kobe!” from the Staples Center crowd.