It was only the second game for LeBron, who had missed more than a month with a sprained ankle. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes, and isn’t gone for good until the Lakers drop to double digits at the end of the fourth quarter, so he’s cautious. to assume it was a precautionary measure.
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But while LeBron’s ankle may not be a major concern going forward, the Lakers have cause for concern when it comes to their position in the table. They’re obviously not happy about that, and LeBron has made his feelings known loud and clear when addressing the media.
“Whoever invented this – must be fired,” LeBron said of the play-in tournament.
Now 36-28 after the loss to the Raptors, the Lakers have the same record as the Mavericks and Trail Blazers. Given the evolution of the standings, these three teams will finish fifth, sixth and seventh in a certain order, which means that one of them will participate in the play-in tournament.
For now, the Lakers are in sixth place, due to losing the season series and the tiebreaker with the Mavericks, but holding the tiebreaker slightly over the Trail Blazers in function. of the conference record. The Lakers still have one game with the Blazers, however, and that will determine the series of the season between the two teams.
Of course, they’re unlikely to all end the regular season with the same record, but if the Lakers lose this game to the Blazers, they’ll have to finish above both teams to avoid dropping seventh. For now, however, it’s not really worth diving into every storyline with eight games still to go.
As for LeBron’s feelings about the play-in tournament, he’s not the only star in this squad to voice concerns. Luka Doncic questioned the idea last month, saying, “I don’t get the idea… You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out. of the playoffs. Don’t see the point of that. “
While it might seem a bit like sour grapes for these players to complain about something once they might be involved, LeBron, to his credit, has been talking openly about the idea for years. In 2018, when a play-in tournament was first offered, LeBron was equally critical.
“It’s wacky,” LeBron said of the play-in tournament. “You have to earn your spot to be in the playoffs. No consolation for having finished last. It’s corny. “