After missing the previous two contests against the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks with a sprained ankle, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was able to return for the highly-anticipated matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans on
James showed no ill effects of his injury, routinely driving hard to the rim and finishing through contact en route to a 38-point night. However, his efforts were not enough as the Pelicans were able to go on a 13-4 run down the stretch that sealed James and the Lakers’ fate.
With only a handful of games left, Los Angeles needed to win against New Orleans and James summarized it pretty simply when asked about the ramifications of the loss.
“The big picture is that it was pretty much a must-win for us and we didn’t get the job done. We had great opportunities throughout the night and we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch while they did. So that’s the big picture.”
With how the tiebreakers shake out, it might feel like the Lakers are doomed as far as making the Play-In Tournament but James is still clinging on to the small chance they make it.
“Until it says we are eliminated then it doesn’t. When that happens then we’ll know what our destiny is, but until then, we just keep pushing forward.”
At this point, all James and the team can do is go out swinging and hope for the best. Getting to the Play-In Tournament is going to be far from easy because not only do they need to win out, they will need the San Antonio Spurs and Pelicans to drop games.
Head coach Frank Vogel has remained optimistic about his team’s chances with a healthy James and Anthony Davis, and he is already reiterating his message of winning as many of their remaining games left. The Purple and Gold may not control their destiny entirely, but they can certainly help themselves by getting a win on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.
Dwight Howard believes Lakers can get hot at any moment
Dwight Howard has been a positive force all season for the Lakers, and the veteran has remained even-keeled despite the roller coaster ride the year has felt like. There is no question that L.A. will always have a shot with James and Davis at the helm, feeding into Howard’s belief that the roster has enough talent to get over the hump.
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