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JaVale McGee explodes as Lakers lose to Nets, are officially eliminated from playoffs

JaVale McGee activated playoff mode and put up numbers not seen by a Lakers big man since Shaquille O’Neal, but it wasn’t enough to stop D’Angelo Russell from leading the Brooklyn Nets to victory.

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It was a slow death, but the Los Angeles Lakers are finally officially eliminated from playoff contention following a 111-106 loss to D’Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets Friday at Staples Center.

The Lakers struggled to get any of their shots to fall, especially from behind the arc where they shot a lowly 25 percent (9-36), but they managed to stick around long enough to make the game interesting in spite of that thanks to a career night from JaVale McGee.

In 34 minutes against the Nets, McGee scored a career-high 33 points on a crazy 75 percent shooting from the field to go along with a season-high 20 rebounds and six blocks. McGee joins an elite list of Lakers to put up at least 33 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks in a game.

LeBron James also did whatever he could to make sure the Lakers didn’t go quietly into their goodnight, tallying 25 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds. However, he struggled to knock down shots with any consistency, going 8-25 from the field. He also hard a time taking care of the ball, turning it over seven times.

Of course, a playoff-hope-crushing loss to the Nets wouldn’t be the same without a monster fourth quarter from D’Angelo Russell. He ended the night 21 points on 8-20 shooting from the field and 13 assists. He was no JaVale McGee, but he was still very good for someone that isn’t a leader.

The Lakers will be back at it on Sunday to take on the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. It just officially won’t mean anything now. Can we sim to July?

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