The Los Angeles Lakers may have just watched their chances at the NBA playoffs take a drastic hit on Saturday night. LeBron James and company traveled to take on Phoenix Suns, who entered the night with the NBA’s worst record at 12-51. The Suns were the first team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but still managed to defeat a Lakers team that was desperate for a win.
Just prior to the end of this game, the Lakers sat four games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers are battling for the No. 8 seed, while the Sacramento Kings are three games back of the final spot. With Saturday’s loss, LeBron and the Lake Show look poised to be on their way to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, not the playoffs.
The effort throughout this game and a number of plays drew strong reactions on social media. Specifically, one play when James inbounded the ball and turned it over in ugly fashion stood out. A seemingly frustrated LeBron tossed the ball off the backboard from behind the hoop, as Bleacher Report showed, and that’s when Twitter really ramped it up.
It was all downhill from there for the Lakers and the social media reactions that came throughout the remainder of the game.
Twitter Destroys Lakers, LeBron James for Performance vs. Suns
LeBron James Misses Two Late Free Throws
The Lakers trailed 114-109 in the fourth quarter with 44.3 seconds remaining and James missed two free throws that would have cut it to a one-possession game. Considering the previous struggles from the line in key moments, the reactions to this weren’t the slightest bit surprising.
Breaking Down Lakers’ Loss to Suns
The Lakers went on to fall 118-109 in this game and James led the way with 27 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds while shooting 10-of-21 from the field. Unfortunately, his massive stat line didn’t keep fans from jumping all over this situation and a few of his own poor plays. LeBron did get help from Brandon Ingram, who had another solid showing by scoring 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting with seven assists. JaVale McGee also tacked on 21 points with seven rebounds off the bench.
Putting aside the solid statistical performances for the Lakers, Rajon Rondo made just one of his 10 field goal attempts and dished out four assists. By far the biggest issue was the fact that they allowed the Suns to shoot 51.3 percent from the field and had no answer for Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix’s two young stars combined for 51 points and 14 rebounds while three others in Josh Jackson (16), Kelly Oubre (14) and Mikal Bridges (12) scored in double figures.
The Lakers now sit at 30-33 on the season and face a brutal stretch ahead which features three home games against likely playoff teams. The first comes Monday against the Clippers, followed by a date with the Denver Nuggets Wednesday and finally, Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics come to town next Saturday.