LeBron James has had to try and drag the Los Angeles Lakers across the finish line, but unfortunately was a late scratch for their loss against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon.
With head coach Frank Vogel saying the goal for the Lakers is to win as many games as possible, seeing James sit out was a surprise. James was definitely missed against the Nuggets, who were able to put away the Lakers down the stretch as their late-game offense fell apart.
Before the game, Vogel acknowledged that the earlier 12:30 p.m. PT tipoff on Sunday led the team to be cautious with the superstar.
“Had ankle soreness from the other night,” Vogel said. “This is essentially like a back-to-back with the early start and won’t be able to go today.”
The 37-year-old has had treatment around the clock, and Vogel admitted that he and the staff were unsure how he would respond.
“I don’t know specifically. I just know that obviously we were concerned about what the turnaround would look like and got a text this morning that he wasn’t gonna be able to go.”
With another loss on the books, the odds of the Lakers making the Play-In Tournament almost seem impossible, which means that James could end up being shut down. However, James would need to appear in at least two more games in order to qualify for the NBA scoring title so perhaps he still suits up regardless of their Play-In hopes.
Los Angeles is mathematically not eliminated from contention yet, though they face a steep uphill battle. Their game on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns carries huge implications, and it will be interesting to see if James is able to give it a go then.
Frank Vogel says no one is feeling sorry for Lakers
For a variety of reasons, opposing teams and fans will take every opportunity to kick the Lakers when they are down. Even though some of their struggles are not their fault, Vogel reiterated that no one inside or outside the organization is feeling sorry for them.
“Nobody is feeling sorry for us. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves,” Vogel said.
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