The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday which marked their earliest fall out since the franchise moved to LA in 1960.
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Despite beating the Detroit Pistons 93-85 to improve to 17-46 for the season, the damage had already been done earlier in the night after the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Brooklyn Nets which made it impossible for the Lakers to bridge the gap.
The writing has undoubtedly been on the wall for some time, but having made it official it would have been another sorry chapter to the franchise’s fall from grace in recent years as various things have conspired against them.
While Kobe Bryant was lost for a third straight year to a season-ending injury, Steve Nash has been sidelined, rookie Julius Randle was injured in his debut and looking further back the Dwight Howard move was ultimately a failure.
It is only the seventh time in franchise history that the Lakers will miss the playoffs and only the second time that they’ve missed them in consecutive seasons.
“I don’t think about that, to be honest with you,” coach Byron Scott said, ESPN reports.
“I’m just thinking about the process of this team continuing to get better and just sticking with what we talked about on both ends of the floor. From day one to now, we’ve gotten better on the defensive end. That’s what I’ve been preaching all season long, so that makes me happy. We’ve got to continue to do that for the next 19 games.”
It is a real changing of the guard considering that the Lakers have made the post-season 60 times in 67 seasons, and they are on course to have the worst winning mark in franchise history too.
However, with a high Draft pick and significant salary cap space available this summer, they will be expected to rebuild and come again in the next few years while Bryant will hope to go out with some level of success in his last season in the NBA next year.