For the sixth consecutive time, the Lakers will miss the playoffs this year, as a 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets yesterday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles officially eliminated the team from contention.
While the Lakers are used to being outside the playoff picture in recent years, James certainly is not.
Prior to joining LA, the Nike-sponsored athlete made it to the NBA Finals eight times in a row, winning two championship titles with the Miami Heat and one with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The all-time great has not missed the playoffs since 2005.
The four-time league MVP missed much of the season with a groin injury but was out on the court last night, putting up 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds — but it wasn’t enough in a back and forth battle with lead changes aplenty.
With a record of 31-41, the Lakers now sit at 11th place in the West, a similar spot to where they were last year — before signing James.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough season for all of us,” the star said after the game. “”It’s not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happened. Suspensions, injuries, things of that nature.”
As the team shifts toward thinking about next season, James said his playing time may be reduced as he continues to deal with the lingering groin injury.
Next year’s Lakers roster could look very different: Seven of 14 players will be free agents at the season’s end. The job security of head coach Luke Walton may also be in peril.
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