Lakers' loss to Suns causes playoff odds to plummet

LeBron James Lakers

LeBron James Lakers

They followed Friday's hard-fought loss to Milwaukee with a disappointing 118-109 defeat in Phoenix on Saturday.

It's plays like that that cost teams games, and we'd expect better from the self-proclaimed "greatest player in the world". "If we want to get to the goal that we've set for ourselves in the season, we have to believe in each other". When they struggle to get buckets at the rim, they need their defense to clamp down and keep them competitive in games due to the deep ball not being a consistent threat. "Every possession matters. That goes for all of us".

Focusing frustrations on one play would be folly for a team with three quarters of the season in the books.

Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo had four assists to give him (6,822) for his National Basketball Association career and move past Deron Williams (6,819) for 20th all-time. LeBron earned a trip to the line on the other side, but missed each of his shots. But alas, James and his shoddy shooting from the charity stripe continued and he missed both free throws to all but seal the loss.

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LeBron James had 27 points, nine rebounds and 16 assists for the Lakers, who have lost four of five to drop 4 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He was flanked by Brandon Ingram - who continued his hot streak with 25 points - and JaVale McGee - who scored 21 on a ideal 10-of-10 clip. They have no veterans on the team. After Josh Hart was called for a questionable foul, Deandre Ayton (26 points, 10 boards, 2 steals, 1 block) made two free throws to push the Suns' edge back to five, setting the stage for James missing the two free throws with 47 seconds to go.

The loss drops the Lakers to 30-33, 4½ games short of the 8th and final playoff spot in the West, now occupied by their roommates the Los Angeles Clippers.

After the game, Kyle Kuzma spoke about something being wrong with the team. The biggest shot in the arm the team could theoretically get would be a clean bill of health for Lonzo Ball, but that seems to be a complete wildcard. He's been averaging almost 23 points per game on very efficient shooting.

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