It’s too late for the Los Angeles Lakers to keep the Oklahoma City Thunder out of the playoffs, but they can help ensure they have as tough a first-round opponent as possible whenever their postseason starts.
Several Lakers have said after recent games that they’re motivated by playing spoiler for playoff teams, but aside from that, there really isn’t much for the Lakers to play for Tuesday night in OKC.
It feels like a lifetime ago that the Lakers were seen as the favorites to land Paul George and longer shots to sign LeBron James. We all know how that turned out, though. James agreed to come to the Lakers and George never even took a meeting with Magic Johnson before re-upping with the Thunder.
Now, James has been shut down for the season as he recovers from a groin injury that cost him a quarter of his first Lakers campaign, and George is nursing an injury of his own that derailed a potential MVP campaign. But if you were to ask either which season they’d prefer, George would laugh his way to the bank seven days a week and twice on Sunday.
In terms of the actual basketball game being played tonight, the shorthanded Lakers are going to be thoroughly outmatched, but stop us if you’ve heard that before. James, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are all done for the season, leaving very little help for Kyle Kuzma (who is questionable to play himself) and JaVale McGee, the only two remaining original starters. To his credit, though, McGee has played really well of late. Still, with the Lakers “fighting” for lottery seeding, a loss would at least help them in the tank race. Silver linings and all that.
After tonight, the Lakers will have only four games left, then they’ll head into an offseason in which they’ll have to convince another star of James or George’s stature to take a meeting at the very least.
Game time for Tuesday night is scheduled for 5:00 PM PDT and will be televised nationally on TNT. Players only, baby.