The Los Angeles Lakers have officially been eliminated from postseason contention after losing to the Suns on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning in Nigeria) which puts the Lakers three games back of the No. 10 Spurs, who beat Denver on Tuesday, with three games to play, and San Antonio owns the tiebreaker.
With their loss to the Suns in Phoenix, as well as the Spurs’ win over Nuggets, the Lakers were eliminated from 2022 NBA playoff contention.
LA Lakers entered the game in 11th place in the Western Conference, two games behind San Antonio for the last Play-In Tournament spot.
The loss was the Lakers’ seventh straight-four of the last five came without star LeBron James on the court as he deals with an ankle injury.
This season will be James’ fourth-ever without a playoff berth; he also missed out with the Lakers in 2019 and with the Cavaliers in 2004 and 2005, the first two seasons of his career. Los Angeles bounced back to win the Bubble season title in 2020.
The Lakers have struggled to stay healthy this season with both James and Anthony Davis missing significant time, and dealt with at-times a rocky, down year from nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook. The trio has only been available together for 21 games, with the team going 11-10 in them. The Athletic’s Zach Harper summed up the season as “the biggest disaster in the NBA” in his latest power rankings.
The Lakers have three games remaining, ending its season on April 10 against the Denver Nuggets.
Also in the West, the Jazz jumped Denver for the No. 5 seed and clinched a playoff berth with their win over Memphis on Tuesday.
In the East, the Nets moved up to the No. 8 seed with their win over the Rockets coupled with Atlanta’s loss to the Raptors. The win sealed a playoff spot for Toronto. The Bulls also clinched a playoff spot by way of No. 7 Cleveland’s loss to Orlando.