The Los Angeles Lakers and Lebron James thought they couldn’t get much lower than losing to the last-place Phoenix Suns on the road Saturday. They were wrong. The team lost to their rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Monday, and the defeat at home all but ruled them out of the playoffs.
Before the loss the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had the Lakers as a -900 not to make the playoffs, and a +600 to make it. After the defeat the bet was taken off the board.
The Lakers currently are 4.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and final playoff spot. In between them are the Sacramento Kings, who hold a 2.5-game advantage over Los Angeles. The Minnesota Timberwolves are only a half-game behind the Lakers.
Sacramento challenging San Antonio seems far more likely than the Lakers. Los Angeles has lost 5 of its last six. The Kings have lost four of its last six. The Lakers aren’t going to leap over them with that kind of record. Minnesota has won three of its last six, and could very well catch the struggling Lakers.
If Los Angeles fails to make the postseason, it would only be the third time James has failed to play in the playoffs in his 16-year career. He didn’t play after the regular season his first two years in the league.
Schedule Not Favorable
The Lakers are 30-34, and realistically have to win at least 14 of their final 19 games to have a chance to get the last playoff spot. The team has a tough schedule, with only six of their last 19 against teams that are below .500.
But the team hasn’t performed well against squads with worse records. They have lost to the suspiciously tanking-like New York Knicks, James’ old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Atlanta Hawks.
Still before last week’s loss to the Suns, James was still optimistic about the team’s chances.
“We’re not worried about what the time strain is or what everyone else is saying,” James said. “I think it’s what happens in here and I feel good about where we are.”
After the Clippers loss on Monday, James wasn’t as rosy. He talked almost with a resignation that the team wasn’t going to make the postseason.
“Continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances,” James said. “Cause someone is always watching.”
James Hears Unfamiliar Boos
There were far fewer fans watching the team on Monday night, and the ones that didn’t leave in the fourth quarter were voicing their displeasure. Boos could be heard throughout the arena as James and the team limped through the final 12 minutes.
One of the team’s more famous fans, saw enough when the Lakers lost to the Suns. Rapper Snoop Dogg went on a profanity-laced videotaped tirade, calling for coach Luke Walton’s firing and saying those around James were “goofballs.”
“Get LeBron some (expletive) help … somebody got to go. Matter of fact, a lot of (expletives) got to go — starting with the coach,” Dogg said. “Sick of this. Going to act like it’s going to be all right, it’s going to be cool, they going to figure it out, they going to grow. These sorry (expletives) aren’t going to (win).”
He ended the video by offering up his box seats for the rest of the season for $5.