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LeBron James out Tuesday with Lakers on brink of elimination

Tuesday night is do-or-die for the Los Angeles Lakers. With a loss to the NBA-best Phoenix Suns and a victory by the San Antonio Spurs over the Denver Nuggets, the star-studded 2021-2022 Lakers team will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (including the Play-In Tournament).

With their season on life support, Los Angeles will be without its biggest star again on Tuesday.

James missed the Lakers’ 129-118 defeat to the Nuggets on Sunday, the team’s sixth straight loss. In 56 contests this season, “King James” has been his usual dominant self, posting MVP-caliber numbers and leading the league in scoring at 30.3 points per game, but he has also missed 22 contests due to rest and various injuries.

Co-star Anthony Davis missed all of March with a foot injury and has been limited to 39 games (exactly half) of Los Angeles’ tilts. Due in part to James’ and Davis’ ailments, the Lakers are in jeopardy of becoming one of the most-hyped teams in NBA history to fail to make the postseason.

Last offseason, the Lakers completed a mega-blockbuster five-team trade that landed them future Hall of Fame guard Russell Westbrook to join James and Davis as arguably the most impressive “Big Three” in the league … on paper. It’s been a struggle for L.A. almost from opening night, though, however, as they haven’t been over the .500 mark since they were 21-20 on Jan. 9.

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