Without LeBron James, the Angelinos took the loss too much last night in Phoenix.
The Lakers put the finishing touches on their fiasco this season, with a loss in Phoenix (121-110) marking their elimination from the race for the playoffs; Tuesday in the NBA, San Antonio, winner in Denver (116-97), ensuring its place as barrage at their expense.
The slow and inevitable decay of the 2020 champion, who was aiming for nothing more than the reconquest of the title at the beginning of the championship, with the recruitment of Russell Westbrook to form a “Big 3” alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, has therefore resulted in their pitiful elimination.
They had to concede a seventh consecutive loss to the Suns, combined with a Spurs victory to the Nuggets, for it to be recorded. This scenario came true in the absence of LeBron James, who forfeited because they insufficiently recovered from a sprained left ankle.
L.A. only made illusions in the first half, despite the efforts of Davis (21 pts, 13 rbds) and Westbrook (28 pts), after which the championship leader accelerated in the wake of Devin Booker (32 pts) and DeAndre Ayton (22 pts, 13 rbds), with the key to a 63rd victory this season, a new franchise record.
Last Friday, James believed that his end of the season had sounded and was given an appointment in the fall. His April 1 joke was only four days ahead of the curve to become a reality. He is not at the rendezvous of the playoffs for the 4th time in his career in 19 seasons, punctuated by 10 finals and four crowns.
Gobert qualifies jazz
Earlier, the Spurs had put pressure on the Lakers, winning at the Nuggets, and were required to do the same to ensure their direct qualification in the playoffs.
With Keldon Johnson (20 pts, 8 rbds) and five other players between 13 and 20 units, Gregg Popovich’s team did not contain Nikola Jokic (41 pts, 17 rbds), but as the Serb was too alone…
Denver drops to 6th place in favor of Utah (5th), which validated its ticket to the playoffs by defeating Memphis (2nd) after overtime (121-115).
In overtime, the Jazz counted on Rudy Gobert (22 pts, 21 rbds) in overtime, as the Frenchman, ultra-dominant in the racket, scored five of his team’s eleven points.
Miami recorded a fifth straight win against Charlotte (144-115) to consolidate its first place in the East. The Heat made a long-range fireworks display (23/42), thanks in particular to Tyler Herro (6/10, 35 pts) and Duncan Robinson (7/11, 21 pts).
More than a win and the 2020 finalist will be guaranteed to be seeded N.1. Boston (2nd), Milwaukee (3rd), winner in Chicago (127-106), and Philadelphia (4th), which won in Indiana (131-122), can still decide otherwise, but their chances are tiny.
Imperial Joel Embiid
In the meantime, the Sixers could still count on Joel Embiid, imperial in the racket (45 pts, 13 rbds). The Cameroonian, who is vying for the MVP trophy, took the opportunity to overtake LeBron James in first place among the best scorers in the league (30.4 pts against 30.3).
The Bucks have returned to success (127-106 in Chicago) after two consecutive losses, thanks to Brook Lopez (28 pts), who is getting better and better after a back injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t have to force (18 pts, 9 rbds, 7 assists).
DeMar DeRozan shone in vain (40 pts) for the Bulls (6th), nevertheless assured of a direct accession for the playoffs, thanks to the surprise setback (120-115) of Cleveland (7th) at the red lantern Orlando.
Toronto (5th) also qualified, beating (118-108) Atlanta and being condemned to go through playoffs. Pascal Siakam (31 pts, 13 rbds) was the strongman of the Raptors, who are on their 12th win in 16 games.
Despite Trae Young (26 pts, 15 assists), the Hawks saw their five-game winning streak halted and slipped to 9th place, overtaken by Brooklyn, falling to Houston (118-105), thanks to 42 points from Kyrie Irving.
The 8th place, for the moment occupied by the Nets, is expensive because it assures its owner of the advantage of the parquet in case of a second chance in “play-in.”