We finally saw the return of King James to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers squad was in desperate need of a boost from their leader, and everyone was excited to see Anthony Davis and LeBron James back on the floor together. But the issues are far from over.
The Lakers have gone 1-5 since Davis came back on April 22 and have lost both of their games since James returned on Friday. And to make matters worse, James was held out of the games closing minutes on Sunday due to soreness in his right ankle, the same injury that caused him to miss over a month of playing time. Shams Charania from The Athletic also broke that LeBron will be sitting out this Monday against the Nuggets due to the injury.
The Lakers have lost 6 of their last 7 games — including tonight at home to the Raptors playing without Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr and OG Anunoby.— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 3, 2021
They are now 7th in the West.
Their next 5 games: Nuggets, Clippers, Blazers, Suns, Knicks. pic.twitter.com/xkKhEVCvAR
Sitting at 36-28, the Lakers entered Monday, sharing the same record as the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers currently hold the No. 7 seed under tiebreakers, with Dallas at No. 5 and Portland No. 6, but the margins are razor-thin. One of those three teams will presumably wind up with the 7-seed by the end of the regular season, which means entry to the NBA’s new play-in tournament rather than joining the main Playoff field, like in years past.
The play-in tournament isn’t officially a concern for the Lakers right this minute. If they handle their business or get help from other teams around the league, they could avoid that fate and end up as the No. 6 seed. But that’s easier said than done; with eight games of their regular season remaining, the Lakers face the fifth-toughest schedule. Troubling times for the reigning NBA champs.
Catch you Thursday.