The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have just four games left in the regular season, as they need to close a 2.0-game gap to qualify for the Play-In Tournament.
L.A. would need to win three games more than the San Antonio Spurs if they were to salvage the 2021-22 season. The Lakers can’t finish the campaign with an identical record as the Spurs, because San Antonio owns a tiebreaker over them.
The Spurs may lose their remaining four games considering they only face playoff-bound opponents, all of which can still move up or down the standings. However, the Purple and Gold would need to be at their absolute best to add three wins before the regular season ends, as they have a similarly difficult schedule.
And, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports they might have to play without LeBron James, who still suffers from ankle soreness:
James sat out Sunday with soreness in his left ankle. A source familiar with James’ status told ESPN it is “unlikely” James’ ankle will improve enough for him to play against the Suns, but cautioned that things could unexpectedly improve in the next 48 hours and allow him to give it a go.
The Spurs will begin their clash with the Denver Nuggets one-and-a-half hour before the Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. It’d be interesting to see whether the score in San Antonio’s game around tip-off time of L.A.’s clash with Phoenix will have any impact on James’ decision to face the Suns.
Early tip-off contributed to James’ absence in loss to Nuggets
James missed the Sunday loss to the Nuggets as he suffered from ankle soreness again following his 38-point performance a couple of days earlier. Head coach Frank Vogel explained the early, 12:30 p.m. tip-off of the matchup with Denver contributed to the 37-year-old’s absence.
“This is essentially like a back-to-back with the early start and won’t be able to go today,” Vogel said on Sunday.
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