The NBA play-in match is lower than two weeks away, and for the primary time since Oct. 23, the Lakers aren’t within the high 10 within the West.
Russell Westbrook hinted that the strain is piling on L.A. throughout a tense alternate with reporter Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times following Tuesday’s 128-110 loss to the Mavericks, which put the Lakers within the 11 spot within the West.
When the reporter requested what modifications the Lakers may make within the ultimate stretch of the common season — particularly with LeBron James sidelined with a left ankle damage — Westbrook mentioned he didn’t have the reply. Then, he bought up out of his seat and started to argue with Turner.
“I’m only one person, champ. It’s a team game,” he mentioned. “So I don’t have an answer. You can give me your answer.”
After issues appeared to get heated between Westbrook and Turner, the previous league MVP deescalated the scenario by shaking reporter’s hand. He then walked out of the room.
The Lakers had been without James in Tuesday’s loss, after the 37-year-old harm his ankle within the first half of Sunday’s 116-108 loss to New Orleans. He landed awkwardly on the foot of Pelicans ahead Jaxson Hayes, and went down clutching his left ankle in ache — however remained within the recreation.
After the sport, James referred to as the damage “pretty nasty” and mentioned it felt “horrible.” He started receiving remedy at the world that night time, and exited along with his ankle wrapped whereas strolling with a limp.
James, who’s averaging 30.1 factors, 8.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists this season, is the Lakers’ main scorer. Not solely is his damage essential for manufacturing on the ground, however Lakers coach Frank Vogel mentioned it’s a lot deeper than that.
On Tuesday, Vogel described James’ injury as “the latest and maybe biggest blow to our psyche.”
The 31-44 Lakers presently sit in eleventh spot within the Western Conference — outdoors of the ultimate spot within the play-in match, which begins April 12 and concludes April 15.
L.A. is now tied with the Spurs, who personal a tiebreaker over the Lakers, with seven video games remaining for each groups.
James is reportedly expected to sit out Thursday in Salt Lake City in opposition to the Jazz. Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes studies Anthony Davis (foot) may return Friday in opposition to the Pelicans.