Lakers fall to the Clippers; remain the 7th seed in the West

The Lakers fell to the Clippers in the biggest game of the season, 125-118. With this loss, LA remains the 7th seed in the Western Conference, and the Clippers are now the 5th seed. The Lakers trailed for the entire game as their largest deficit was 24 points but cut the lead to single digits in the 3rd quarter.

LeBron James led the team in scoring with 33 points, along with seven assists and eight rebounds. Anthony Davis had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Reaves also contributed 20 points. 

Prior to the game, LeBron and AD were both listed as questionable, as this game was the second of a back-to-back, and both of them have had a history of sitting on the second night. They each went through their pre-game workouts, and both felt that they were good enough to give it a go. 

LeBron and AD were listed as questionable due foot injuries they’ve been battling for quite a while now. In a postgame interview, James stated, “It's tough. It’s one of the toughest games we’ve had this year... This was one of those scheduling conflicts in the season. And it definitely got the best of us tonight.” 

In this game, the Lakers needed to come out with a sense of urgency as the winner of this game would have sole possession of 5th place in the Western Conference. They could not buy a shot to start the game and fell behind pretty early, and had to play catch-up all game. 

Along with this game being important for the Western Conference playoff seedings, it was also the first time they went up against Russell Westbrook since he was traded and signed a contract with the Clippers. Westbrook finished the night with 14 points, along with two 3-pointers. After the game, Anthony Davis was asked about the team’s game plan for Westbrook: “Our game plan was for him to shoot the ball. And he made them. He made the shots.”

There are two games remaining in the regular season before the play-in tournament begins. The Lakers have at least clinched a play-in spot. The seed that they earn will be decided after their final game against the Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon. 

This season has been a roller coaster ride for the Lakers and their fans as they started the season 0-5, and many people counted them out. They now sit with a 41-39 record and just a game behind 5th place in the West. The team has recovered very well since the trade deadline, and they are a team that no one wants to see come playoff time.

The only thing that will prevent the Lakers from making a deep run in the playoffs is health, and that has been the main issue for the past few years. If this team can stay healthy, the Lakers will do some damage come playoff time.

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