The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets 129-118 in a crucial matchup that could now go a long way in deciding their playoff chances. 

The Lakers were without LeBron James, who was unavailable due to an ankle sprain. He missed two games last week with the same injury but was able to play Friday’s loss to the Pelicans. This defeat was the Lakers sixth in a row, a truly damning statistic. 

Lakers’ Play-In Chances 

This result means the Lakers’ chances at the play-in tournament have taken a big hit. They are now two games behind San Antonio Spurs for the final spot in the tournament. LeBron James has been dealing with this ankle injury for a few weeks now and coach Frank Vogel didn’t take any chances. 

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The Lakers now have an almost brutal schedule to end the season. The fixtures include games against the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and another meeting with the Nuggets. At this point, the Lakers’ play-in odds seem incredibly low. Partly because the Spurs own the season tiebreaker over them and because of the schedule. Though their playoff chances aren’t officially dead, they’re currently very slim. After the game against Denver, Anthony Davis had a few words. 

“I think the biggest thing that I think about personally is what we could have been, had we stayed healthy all year,” Davis said after the game. “What could we have been?

“Guys feel like, ‘OK, what could we have been if I was healthy all year, [LeBron James] was healthy, [Kendrick] Nunn was healthy?’ You think about those things. We put this team together and it looked good on paper, but we haven’t had a chance to reach that potential with guys in and out of the lineup. So the most frustrating part of this season is not being sure of what we could have been.”

At this stage, the Lakers missing the playoffs is a real possibility. If that happens, there is set to be a real inquest and difficult decisions must be made moving forward.