Phoenix – The season that began with the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship promise ended with the pain of failing even to qualify for the championship.
Tuesday’s 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns—along with the San Antonio Spurs’ victory over the Denver Nuggets 116-97—officially eliminated Los Angeles from the playing competition with three games remaining in the regular season.
“Very disappointed,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re disappointed for our fan base. We’re disappointed with the Buss family, who gave us all this opportunity and we want to play our part in making Laker basketball a success and we’ve failed.”
Phoenix blew the game open with a 35-22 third quarter, and the Lakers slalom to the finish line from there. the sun Devin Booker (32 points on 12 vs. 22) and Jay Crowder Let the opponent’s bench hear it, enjoying the opportunity to bury the Lakers next Anthony Davis He suggested last month that Phoenix’s 2021 play-off victory over Los Angeles was purely a fluke.
In the end, it was just another rough night for the Lakers in a season that their fans will soon forget.
He said, “We just didn’t get it done.” Carmelo Anthony. “We had the tools. Some things were out of our control — some things we could control, some things we couldn’t do. And nothing more than we didn’t get it done. You can’t make any excuses about it. We just didn’t get it done.”
Injuries ruined the season, with L.A.’s new Big Three look LeBron Jamesand Davis and Russell Westbrook They aggregate to play only 21 games together through Tuesday. The Lakers went 11-10 in those games – hardly dominant, but certainly not basement dwellers either.
Injuries played a factor again on Tuesday, as James missed for the fourth time in the past five games with soreness in his left ankle. This was his 23rd missed game of the season. Joining James was on the visitor seat at the footprint center in street clothes Kendrick Nanmissed his 79th game this season due to a bone bruise in his right knee, but strangely enough, he was not ruled out this season by the Lakers.
Even Davis, who was playing in Game Three after a six-week absence due to a sprain in the middle of his right foot, has also been dealing with the plantar fascia in his right foot that he has injured since returning, according to Vogel. .
A rash of poor health — including COVID-19 running through the locker room in December — has led to a ridiculous total of 24 different players fitting in L.A. at some point this season. That left Vogel no choice but to constantly fiddle with his available players as he tried 39 different starting lineups as of Tuesday – the second-most in the league behind the Brooklyn Nets.
“This year, we’ve had more starting lineups than wins,” Davis said.
Westbrook, whose six turnovers marred his 28-point lead against The Suns, was asked if he would like a chance to replay next season and end the final year of his contract with the Lakers.
“I mean, that’s the plan,” Westbrook said. “But we promised nothing.” “Yes, we want to be able to see what that looks like, and what that entails over the course of an 82-game season. But we’re not sure if that’s guaranteed either. So I just hope we have a chance to be able to do something.”
Davis was still puzzled, as to how the Lakers missed the opportunity.
“Our goal was to win the championship,” he said after putting together 21 points and 13 rebounds. “I feel like we had the pieces, but injuries hindered that. And that was the difference in the season. I think even though we lost games where we were all on the floor – me, Bronn, Ross – I think we’re three great players, but we would have defined it if we scored more. But we couldn’t do that, which makes it difficult to be able to compete for the championship when your top three players haven’t scored enough minutes together.”
A team selected to win 52.5 games in the pre-season by BetMGM Sportsbook and one of the frontrunners — along with Brooklyn — to win it all, were eliminated from the championship-playing competition by losing their seventh game in a row to raise their record to 31-48.
It’s the Lakers’ longest losing streak this season, while San Antonio have won for the seventh time in their past eight games to ensure they’ll be at least the 10th seed in play. The New Orleans Pelicans, who needed to win Tuesday night or lose to the Lakers, beat the Sacramento Kings 123-109 to seal a place in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles have not won back-to-back games since early January, when they beat Sacramento and Atlanta at home.
By the time the Lakers beat the Suns on Tuesday night, Spurs had a seven-point lead over Denver late in the third quarter, putting half of the Los Angeles exit scenario in place. The Lakers clung to a 42-39 lead over the Suns midway through the second quarter as San Antonio finalized their win.
Loss unceremoniously begins on a vacation full of Lakers question marks. Will Vogel keep his job? Is there a change in store for the front office? Can the Lakers find a trading partner for Westbrook and cut their losses? Will James, entering the final year of his deal, sign a contract extension to keep him in Los Angeles beyond his 20th league season?
James, who was familiar with the messages, showed his compatibility with the franchise through his outfit on Tuesday. He wore a white T-shirt printed on the front with “Lake Show” in purple and gold lettering, with cartoons of Laker legends Wilt ChamberlainKobe Bryant Shaquille O’Neal Magic Johnson Jerry WestAnd the James Worthy And the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
No one from the 2021-22 Lakers made the cut.
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