NBA: Desperate Lakers must catch fire against the sun

Anthony Davis Lakers NBA

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers watches # 3 after losing to Denver Nuggets 129-118 in a game at the Arena on April 03, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 2022 NBAE Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images / AFP

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a desperate mood as they come close to dropping out of play-in berth consideration.

The Lakers have lost six of their last 24 matches in a row and entered 19 of their last 24 games as they entered Tuesday night’s must-win road game against NBA-best Phoenix Suns (62-16).

Los Angeles (31-47) trailed 10th-ranked San Antonio Spurs (33-45) in two games and ninth-ranked New Orleans Pelicans (34-44) in three games in a three-way battle for the final two games. Both San Antonio and New Orleans own the tiebreaker edge against Los Angeles.

So to borrow on the Spurs, the Lakers need to win three more games than San Antonio in the last four games of the season. In the case of the Pelicans, either a New Orleans win or a Los Angeles defeat excludes the Lakers from catching them.

This certainly ranks as a terrible situation for a club that has broken down badly in the last eight-plus weeks.

“We don’t care about math,” Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel told the Denver Nuggets after Sunday’s 129-118 loss. “We are worried about the next match. Learn from this game, take them to the next game and hopefully win against Phoenix. “

More math for Vogel to consider: The Lakers are 0-3 against the Sun this season and 1-5 in the last six regular-season meetings. Phoenix also won the first-round play-off series of six matches against Los Angeles last season.

The Lakers are optimistic about LeBron James on the floor on Tuesday after missing four of the last six games due to an ankle injury. He has been placed on a suspicious list.

James has an average of 30.3 points from 56 games and must play in two of the final four games in Los Angeles to qualify for a shot in the NBA scoring title. James scored 38 points last Friday at a loss-making 114-111 home rate against the Pelicans.

Big man Anthony Davis has also been listed as a suspect. He has played in the last two matches after missing 16 matches in a row due to a foot injury. Davis had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against Denver.

What bothers Davis is how his trio, James and point guard Russell Westbrook, could not establish a rhythm due to the absence of James and Davis’ injuries.

“We didn’t expect to play 21 games together, but it has been all year,” Davis said. “When we were together, we felt good. That being said, we still have enough (players) to play the game of basketball. We will continue to fight like this, give ourselves a chance and see what happens. “

Phoenix lost to Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder. Its subsequent win would set a franchise mark for a season-long win. The 1992-93 and 2004-05 teams also won 62 games.

However, coach Monty Williams was reluctant to discuss the potential success as his club suffered a crushing defeat against Lower Thunder in the second half of Sunday’s 117-96 road loss. Phoenix scored 65-43 in the last 24 minutes.

“We have to go back to our kind of basketball game,” Williams said. “Our second half was bad. We didn’t play well, didn’t shoot, didn’t have great strength, and they did. They played with great strength all night. You give them a lot of credit. We can sit here and talk about what we didn’t do, but they did well all night. “

Veteran point guard Chris Paul had a similar outlook for a shaky performance where the Suns crossed 54-33 and shot a season-low 18.4 percent (7 of 38) from the 3-point range while the Thunder dropped to 17 of 41 (41.5 percent). ) From a long range.

“Usually, we impose our will on the defense, and we don’t,” Paul said. “So you have to give them a lot of credit. They moved the ball, shot the ball very well and they beat us.”

The Sun star guard Devin Booker and the big man Dandre Ayton were left out to rest.

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