The Los Angeles Lakers’ regular-season finale victory was overshadowed by LeBron James leaving the game after rolling his already injured ankle.
The Los Angeles Lakers were looking to close out their season with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans to give them a chance of avoiding the NBA’s play-in round altogether. The last thing they envisioned having to worry about was star LeBron James and his injured ankle.
During the fourth quarter, James drove to the basket and let off a successful layup attempt. But as he was descending, James rolled his right ankle — the very one that he sprained back in March. LeBron left for the remainder of the game, as the Lakers went on to win 110-98.
While many Lakers fans panicked, it appeared that James is okay, as he was seen smiling on the sidelines. Head coach Frank Vogel revealed after the game, via Bill Oram of The Athletic, that James told him he’s “good to go” and that there are “no issues” with the ankle.
Lakers: LeBron Jame leaves season finale vs Pelicans after rolling ankle
In over 27 minutes of playing time, James scored 25 points (on 11-of-22 shooting from the field), tallied 6 assists and recorded 3 steals.
While the Lakers did win their season finale, they did not receive any help from the Denver Nuggets, who lost 132-116 to the Portland Trail Blazers. As a result, the Blazers clinched the 6-seed in the Western Conference, while the Lakers fall into seventh place and into the play-in round. It will be no easy feat, as the Lakers will have to fend off Stephen Curry and the eighth-place Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers are on a mission to win back-to-back NBA championships, but they have to find a way to clinch a playoff spot. They can do so by either defeating the Warriors for the 7-seed on Wednesday, or by defeating the winner of the San Antonio Spurs-Memphis Grizzlies matchup to clinch the 8-seed.
Despite the late scare, Lakers fans can calm down. King James sounds like he will be good to go for the play-in round this week.