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The Lakers were kaput when the Brooklyn Nets outlasted them, 111-106, on Friday night. This will be the sixth year in a row the Lakers have missed the postseason—a franchise record. This loss also drops the Lakers’ record to 31-41 for the season.
LeBron's signing originally gave the Lakers’ season some promise. The team was in fourth place in the Western Conference with 20-14 after a Christmas Day victory against the Golden State Warriors. However, LeBron suffered a groin injury during that same game and had to sit out for a career-long 17 games. The Lakers went 6-11 without him and weren’t able to bounce back. The reports that a majority of the Lakers squad was expendable for a Anthony Davis trade that never happened didn't help either.
In addition to missing out on the postseason for the first time in 14 years, LeBron's streak of playing in eight consecutive NBA Finals has also come to an end. The last Finals without LeBron were in 2010, when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games.
Of course, LeBron isn't that psyched to have some extra time off this season.
"It's not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happened. Suspensions, injuries, things of that nature. And just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes," he said following the loss to Brooklyn. "But you don't even try to wrap your head around it, you just keep pushing. Just try to get better tonight, move onto tomorrow, and go from there."
LeBron finished the losing effort with 25 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds.