- The Lakers have nearly been eliminated from the postseason picture
- LA sits 5.5 games out of eighth place with 18 games remaining
- Is there any value betting yes to making the playoffs?
Perhaps we should leave it to Clippers point guard and all-around agitator Patrick Beverley to answer if the Lakers’ playoff hopes are over – especially after a nail-hammering 113-105 win in the all-LA battle Monday night.
Clippers’ Patrick Beverley celebrates win over Lakers pic.twitter.com/sxDmoizxC0
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 5, 2019
Though it was just recently that the Lakers had first got plus-odds to make the playoffs, there was still optimism for a late season push, the proverbial off switch finally clicking on. This, of course, was a team with Mr. Postseason, LeBron James.
Now we’re wondering if the odds provide enough value to take a chance on a team 5.5 games out with 18 games remaining.
Lakers 2019 Playoff Odds
|Will the Lakers Make the NBA Playoffs?||Odds at BetOnline|
*Odds taken 03/05/19
Schedule Doesn’t Let Up for LA
Ever since Rajon Rondo’s buzzer beater in Boston, the Lakers entered a stretch of games that could have propelled them on some kind of hot streak. Despite a list of winnables that included Atlanta, New Orleans (twice), Memphis, and Phoenix, LA proceeded to drop seven of their next nine, including their last three in a row.
— 🚫 No Baseball Podcast (@nobaseballpod) March 5, 2019
Against the Clips, with a chance to make up ground in one of the few head-to-heads they have left with the teams they’re chasing, they looked like a 10th place team.
2-5 record since LeBron activated “Playoff Mode.”
Maybe he meant “Finals Mode”
— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) March 5, 2019
Much of the same blemishes that have hurt the team through this rough stretch returned to doom them again. A team that ranked 22nd in offensive efficiency did nothing to improve that stat, tossing up a woeful 10-38 from three point range (26.3%) and 41.8% from the field overall.
Lowlights from the Lakers loss to the Clippers.
Lakers have lost 3 in a row (5 of last 6) and are in 10th place in the West. 5 1/2 games behind Spurs for the final playoff spot. pic.twitter.com/Rebgnp1fKC
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 5, 2019
Defensively, they surrendered their average score this season – which ranks 25th overall in the league. Since Christmas (when James got inured against the Warriors), their defensive rating is 111.9, a bottom-seven mark in the league.
And it’s not going to get better any time soon. Three of their next four games are against the Nuggets, Celtics, and Raptors.
2018-19 Western Conference Standings for Seeds 7-11
|Team||Record||Seed||Games Behind||Games Remaining|
|Los Angeles Clippers||37-29||7||–||16|
|San Antonio Spurs||36-29||8||–||17|
|Los Angeles Lakers||30-34||10||5.5||18|
Injuries Drain Lakers’ Roster
Still waiting for Lonzo Ball to come back from an ankle injury, Brandon Ingram’s shoulder flared up on game day, scratching him from the lineup. Bad things apparently come in threes.
Kyle Kuzma goes down with what looks like a right ankle injury pic.twitter.com/uP187HkpcU
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) March 5, 2019
This is already a squad that has LeBron at less than 100% since his groin tear, Tyson Chandler’s neck injury, and nagging ailments to Rondo and Josh Hart – all while trying to work Mike Muscala and Reggie Bullock into the rotation.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) March 5, 2019
Even at full strength, this team was in rough shape to make a run. Now, they’re limping to the finish, with the possibility of eventually shutting James down for the year if and when the playoffs are officially out of reach.
What’s the Best Bet to Make Here?
The final five games of the year (OKC, Golden State, Clippers, Utah and Portland) were supposed to make-or-break LeBron’s playoff chances. They’re probably not even going to make it there with a shot.
As much as James has been a Finals and playoff lock the past 13 years, this season’s sure bet is now a “no” for the Lakers to miss the postseason.