With one week left in the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of not even reaching the play-in tournament.
A list put together to challenge for another title just seems hard to survive.
An in-punch defeat to New Orleans on Friday night, a game in which LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back in the lineup, has a game behind San Antonio for the Los Angeles 10th pick. The Lakers have no place to slip in their last five games, starting with Sunday’s matinee against the Denver Nuggets.
Los Angeles (31-46) has lost five in a row and dropped out of eight play-in tournament brackets in the last 10.
The Lakers could also take revenge for the worst rate of the season. Denver (46-32) beat Los Angeles 133-96 at home on January 15, Davis has missed one of 39 games this season.
Davis had 23 points and 12 rebounds against the Pelicans in his first game since the All-Star break. However, he missed four of his five shots in the fourth quarter when the Lakers lost a six-point lead.
LeBron, who missed two games due to a left ankle sprain, had 38 points but also struggled in the fourth quarter (shooting 1 of 4).
“The big picture is that it had to be a win for us and we didn’t get the job done,” James says.
The Nuggets could feel the same way after losing a showdown with Minnesota on Friday night. With the win against the Timberwolves they had a chance to win all-but at least the sixth pick and stay out of the play-in tournament but lost 136-130 at home. Denver also lost the season series between the teams 3-1.
The Nuggets have four games left, two against the Lakers, and there is a small margin of error to ensure they do not fall into the play-in tournament.
“It’s frustrating. At this stage of the season, there’s no moral win,” said Denver coach Michael Malone. “We have four matches left. I’m trying. “
To do this, the Nuggets must stop turnover and move defensively. The Timberwolves shot 50 percent overall and 57.1 percent in the fourth quarter when they moved away. Denver made it even harder by turning it 6 times in the last 12 minutes for 30 Minnesota points and 18 times at night.
“How good are we to turn the ball?” We’re so good that it’s crazy, “said Nicola Jokic, who had 38 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers.
The Nuggets got a boost with Jamaichal Green returning to the lineup after missing two games, but Jeff Green’s condition is unknown. He went down the tunnel to attend a private affair in the third quarter.
Field level media
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