This is a real sensation. It had been foreshadowed, but now it is certain: the glorious Los Angeles Lakers and superstar LeBron James will miss the playoffs. It remains to be seen what happens next for the club.
The Los Angeles Lakers no longer have a chance of making the NBA playoffs. Without the injured superstar LeBron James, the record champion lost 110-121 at the top Phoenix Suns on Tuesday evening (local time). Because the San Antonio Spurs had previously won 116-97 at the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers can no longer close the gap to tenth place in the remaining three games of the main round.
The Spurs will now play the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the mini-qualifiers. At stake is one of the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference of the world’s best basketball league.
The Utah Jazz clinched a playoff spot with a 121-115 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In the West, it is still open whether Denver can defend its direct play-off place or whether the Minnesota Timberwolves will move past them into sixth place.
In the Eastern Conference, on the other hand, the only open questions are where the team will finish and whether it will qualify for the play-offs. The Chicago Bulls secured the last direct ticket to the playoffs despite a 106-127 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wagner makes comeback
The Cleveland Cavaliers, on the other hand, have to go into the so-called play-in because of their 115-120 defeat against the Orlando Magic. Franz Wagner made his comeback for the Magic after missing his first NBA game this season, but quit after less than seven minutes due to his ankle injury. His brother Moritz Wagner scored 15 points.
The Miami Heat consolidated their top spot in the East with a 144-115 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The race for second place remains tight. The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers each have 49 wins and 30 losses. Joel Embiid had another outstanding night in the 76ers’ 131-122 win over the Indiana Pacers, scoring 45 points and grabbing 13 rebounds and promoting himself for the Most Valuable Player award.