PHOENIX – The season that started with a championship promise for the Los Angeles Lakers ended in pain after failing to qualify for the play-offs.
The Phoenix Suns lost 121-110 on Tuesday – the San Antonio Spurs 116-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets – officially eliminated LA from the play-offs with three games left in the regular season.
“Very disappointing,” said Lockers coach Frank Vogel. “Disappointment to our fan base. We want to do our part to bring disappointment to the bus family who gave us this opportunity and success to Laker Basketball, and we failed.”
The Phoenix opened the game 35-22 in the third quarter, and the Lakers pushed from there towards the finish line. Suns ‘Devin Booker (32 points from 12-for-22 shooting) and Jay Crowder allowed their opponents’ bench to hear it, enjoying the opportunity to bury the Lockers after Anthony Davis suggested last month that the Phoenix 2021 playoff win over LA was a fluke.
In the end, it was another tough night for the Lockers in a season that their fans will soon forget.
“We didn’t do that,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We had the tools. Some things are out of our control – some things we can control, some things we can not do. And this is nothing but what we did. You can not say any reason. We are not done doing it.”
Injuries ruined the season, with LA’s newcomer Big Three LeBron James, Davis and Russell Westbrook playing only 21 games together until Tuesday. The Lakers went 11-10 in those games – rarely dominated, but certainly not the dungeon dwellers.
Injuries were a factor again, with James sitting out for the fourth time in the last five games due to his left ankle pain. This is the 23rd game he has missed this season. Joining the spectators bench in street attire at the Footprint Center with James, Kendrick Nunn missed the 79th game of the season due to a bone injury in his right knee, eagerly, not yet out of the Lakers season.
Davis, who played in his third game six weeks later due to a right mid-leg sprain, also handled the plantar fascia in his right foot, according to Vogel, according to Vogel. .
Poor health – including Covit-19 running in the locker room in December – 24 players at one point this season were ridiculously suited to LA. After trying 39 different starting rows until Tuesday, Vogel had no choice but to constantly tinker with the players available to him – second in the league behind the Brooklyn Nets.
“This year, we had more starting lines than wins,” Davis said.
Westbrook, who was shattered by six turnovers with the team’s highest 28 points against the Suns, was asked if he would like a chance to play again next season and finalize the final year of his contract with the Lakers.
“I mean, that’s the plan. But nothing is guaranteed,” Westbrook said. “Yeah, we want to see what it will be like in the 82-game season and what it will be. But we do not know if that will guarantee either. So I hope we get a chance. Something can be done.”
Davis was still at a loss for words, figuring out how the Lakers missed the opportunity.
“Our goal was to win a championship,” he said after putting up 21 points and 13 rebounds. “I feel like we have the pieces, but the injuries led to it. That’s the difference in the season. Even though we all lost the games that were on the ground – I, Bran, Russ – I think we were three great players, but we could have figured it out if we had logged in more minutes together. Could not do that, it’s hard to compete for the championship when you have three top players. Not enough minutes recorded together. “
A team that was selected to win 52.5 games in the preseason by BetMGM Sportsbook, along with Brooklyn – to win it all, losing its seventh game since the play-offs to bring its record to 31. 48.
It was the longest consecutive defeat of the Lakers season, while San Antonio won for the seventh time in its last eight games, finishing at least 10th in the play-offs. The New Orleans Pelicans needed a Tuesday night win or the Lockers’ defeat, knocking out the Sacramento Kings 123-109 to take the playoff spot.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, have not won consecutive games since beating Sacramento and Atlanta on home soil in early January.
By the time the Lakers and Sons were knocked off on Tuesday night, Spurs were seven points ahead of Denver late in the third quarter, putting half of LA’s elimination situation. As San Antonio put the final touches to its victory, the Lakers stuck to a 42-39 lead over the Suns in the middle of the second quarter.
Loss unofficially begins a season full of questions for lockers. Will Vogue retain his job? Is there a shake to the front office? Can Lockers find Westbrook’s business partner and reduce their losses? Will James, entering the final year of his contract, sign a contract extension to keep him in LA beyond his 20th season in the league?
James, who has always been known for texting, showed off his alignment right through his attire on Tuesday. He printed the white T-shirt “Lake Show” in purple and gold letters on the front, featuring caricatures of lacquer heroes Wild Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul. Jabbar.
No one has been cut from the 2021-22 lockers.