Lakers Officially Eliminated From Playoffs


A 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night officially eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers from play-in contention and the playoffs, ending a nightmare season for the historic franchise with three games remaining..

After a horrendous 13-game stretch that saw the Lakers win just twice, they entered Tuesday two games back of San Antonio, who held the 10th and final play-in spot. With a Spurs win against Denver and a Lakers loss, the team with the second best pre-season odds to win the championship have failed to make the playoffs.

Many are saying it would have taken a miracle to save the Lakers season, however 37-year-old LeBron James is averaging 30.3 points on the year, so it clearly would have taken two miracles to lift Los Angeles to even just the play-in tournament. Nonetheless, it's evident that everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, leaving the Lakers front-office with a plethora of problems to solve entering the offseason.


Following their impressive championship-winning 2020 season, it was the same Phoenix Suns team who handed them a disappointing first-round playoff loss last year, forcing L.A. to completely restructure their roster, building around their future hall-of-famers in James and Anthony Davis last offseason. After a blockbuster deal that brought Russell Westbrook to the team in exchange for three players and a first-round draft pick, the Lakers made a flurry of signings in free agency, bringing in the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard (again), and a slew of other wily veterans. Entering opening night of this season with only three players from the previous season, the average age of the Lakers had skyrocketed to 30 years old, two years older than any other team.

From the get-go it became glaringly obvious that they were not going to meet the incredibly high expectations set for them. They hovered around a .500 record for the better part of the first 50 games of the season, and when yet another Anthony Davis injury in early January was paired with an awful shooting stretch for Russell Westbrook, it quickly became apparent that this team could not function without their Big 3 firing on all cylinders. They absolutely derailed down the stretch, and have now gone 4-16 post-All-Star break, good for the second-worst record in the league since that point.

Despite LeBron having a season for the ages, he will be absent from the playoffs for the fourth time in his career, and the second time in just four seasons with the Lakers. There is no doubt that the front office will need to once again shake things up, especially if they want LeBron to remain a Laker. We've seen time and time again that if LeBron is unhappy, he has no problem finding a new home, and with Anthony Davis' injury struggles, Russell Westbrook's shooting woes, and an extremely poor bench group, it may already be too late for Los Angeles. Shaq weighed on how the Lakers should address these problems, stating that they have to "get younger and more athletic (talent) around LeBron."

The catastrophe that was this Lakers' season will surely make for yet another entertaining and action-packed offseason. Until then, let's enjoy a Lebron-less postseason; they don't come too often.

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