The Los Angeles Lakers were officially knocked out of the post-season controversy on Tuesday as the Phoenix Suns sent the Crisis-involved NBA giants into a seventh-straight defeat.
With injured LeBron James sidelined, the Lakers’ slim hopes of reaching the playoffs have been dashed as Western Conference leaders have introduced a 121-110 winning streak in Phoenix.
Los Angeles’ defeat – and San Antonio’s 116-97 win over Denver Nuggets early Tuesday – means the Lakers will not be in the post-season for the first time since 2019.
This is the fourth time the NBA superstar has failed to reach the post-season since James entered the league in 2003.
“We are extremely disappointed,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “Disappointed for our fanbase, desperate for (ownership), that gave us this opportunity.
“We wanted to play our part in bringing success to Laker Basketball and we failed. This did not happen due to lack of effort. We all worked hard.
“The boys kept fighting until the end. We’ve brought honesty to the process that we’ve only read less through an isolated season. We are all disappointed. “
Tuesday’s defeat brought down a tragic campaign for the Lakers.
The decision to rebuild their roster last year in a blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook was a spectacular failure, due to the long-term injury of Anthony Davis that kept the star forward away for roughly half the season.
One of the NBA’s most glamorous franchises has been glamorized in recent weeks, as scrapping 17-time NBA champions into a play-in tournament requires a miraculous sequence of results.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, social media was abuzz with speculation that the Lakers would move quickly to sack coach Vogel, who led the team to the NBA Championship in 2020.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Utah jazz coach Queen Snyder have both joined the Lakers hot seat.
With San Antonio winning against Denver before the Lakers-Sons game ended, Los Angeles knew there would be only one win in Phoenix.
‘Game for our lives’
But after a brilliant opening they are quickly outclassed.
Shortly before halftime the Suns took a 59-50 lead and hammered in the third quarter, draining a three-point jump shot to keep the Phoenix ahead 84-65 before the Suns cleared 26 points.
Booker led the scoring with 32 points for Phoenix, with Dendre Ayton adding 22.
Vogel said the knowledge of San Antonio’s win over Denver has not changed his team’s outlook against Phoenix.
“We’ve played the last five, six, seven games for our lives,” Vogel said. “It hasn’t changed anything.”
Westbrook, meanwhile, couldn’t figure out how the Lakers’ season went awry.
“There’s one thing,” Westbrook said. “There are a lot of different things that have happened but I don’t like to point fingers or blame anyone.”
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