They beat the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks on the trot before edging out the bottom-ranked Houston Rockets in their last game. LeBron James was rumored to return against the Knicks or the Rockets. However, the star decided to stay out with the post-season in mind.
The LA Lakers will now end their season with a back-to-back set on the road, starting on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers and the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, LA Lakers head coach Frank Vogel believes “there is a chance” LeBron James might play against Indiana Pacers. He also mentioned the talisman practiced on Friday. LeBron is listed as questionable, according to the latest injury report submitted by the Lakers.
Why is it important for LeBron James to return for the LA Lakers?
With the Portland Trail Blazers losing against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, the LA Lakers have a great opportunity to avoid the play-in tournament if they manage to win the remaining two games.
For that to happen, the Blazers will have to lose their next game against the Nuggets. If the Lakers manage to win their next two games, they will go up 42-30 for the season while a loss would see the Blazers drop to 41-31.
The other scenario that could help Frank Vogel’s men is if the Dallas Mavericks, LA Lakers, and the Portland Trail Blazers all end up with the same record, setting a three-way tiebreaker. In that case, the Mavericks would stay fifth as they have clinched their division title, while the Lakers would leapfrog the Blazers into sixth as they have a superior conference record.
If LeBron James plays in both these games, the LA Lakers’ chances of winning their remaining two games will be bolstered. Moreover, LeBron must be able to find his rhythm with the team before they commence their playoff journey.
The LA Lakers have played just two games with their best starting five of Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Andre Drummond. This is also the lineup they are most likely to play in the post-season, and if they can get a couple more games under their belt together, it would help coach Vogel and his side function smoothly moving forward.