The Los Angeles Lakers are hopeful to get Rajon Rondo back Thursday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but LeBron James has already been ruled out. It marks a 15th in a row missed and extends what’s the already longest streak in his career of consecutive games not played in.
The Lakers have struggled without two of their leaders, going 5-9 in the stretch that also saw Kyle Kuzma miss 2.5 games because of a lower back contusion. The slide began one game after the Lakers routed the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.
After the win they remained in fourth place in the Western Conference standings and were on the heels of the Denver Nuggets for first. Now, however, Los Angeles enters play one game back of the Clippers for eighth place.
Injuries have thwarted any attempts to generate consistency and chemistry, and the Lakers figure to face somewhat of a difficult task if they’re to re-enter the playoff picture. That’s hardly of any concern to Rondo, however.
“We’ve got LeBron,” he answered when asked how the team feels over their chances of reaching the playoffs. “I don’t know when’s the last time he missed the playoffs.”
James not only has an unprecedented eight-year NBA Finals streak, but he’s reached the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons. He and the Cleveland Cavaliers failed to reach the playoffs in each of James’ first two seasons in the NBA; it’s the only such occurrence in his career.
The Lakers’ playoff hopes do figure to lie squarely with James, but because of his health, not historic success.
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