Lakers’ Anthony Davis wonders what could have been as loss to Nuggets further dents LA’s playoff hopes

The Los Angeles Lakers fell 129-118 in a key matchup to the Denver Nuggets Sunday afternoon without All-Star forward LeBron James, who was out with a sprained ankle. James missed two games last week with the injury but played in a loss against the Pelicans on Friday. The loss was the sixth straight loss for the Lakers.

Losing to Denver severely impacted LA’s chances in the Play-In tournament, the team now sits a full two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for last place in the tournament. LeBron has been dealing with this nagging ankle injury for quite some time, and he’s mostly played through it. Lakers coach Frank Vogel took no chances and put him on despite the decisive need to win.

With a brutal late-season schedule that includes matchups against the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and one more meeting with the Nuggets, the Lakers’ play-in chances seem incredibly bleak. And with the Spurs in possession of the season tiebreaker, the Lakers are actually in an even bigger hole. Basically, to move up to 10th place they need to win and hope for some Spurs losses.

While their playoff chances aren’t officially dead, they certainly don’t look good, and their current status has Anthony Davis wondering what might have been if the team had been in better health.

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

“Boys think, ‘OK, what could we have been if I’d been healthy all year, [LeBron James] was healthy [Kendrick] Nunn was healthy?’ You think about these things. We put this team together and it looked good on paper, but we didn’t get a chance to fulfill that potential with guys inside and outside the lineup. So the most frustrating part of this season is not being sure what we could have been.”

This season certainly hasn’t gone the way the Lakers had hoped, and injuries to key players like James and Davis have played a big part in that. James has played in 56 games this season while Davis has only played in 39. Also, Russell Westbrook’s general suitability for the team was an issue.

Hailed by many as legitimate title contenders at the start of the season, it’s still quite shocking to see the team fighting a losing battle for the final play-in spot. But despite their relatively dire circumstances, the Lakers are keeping their spirits up.

“There are no moral victories in this league. Especially not with us,” Davis said. “The whole world wants to see us lose, to be honest. But my job is to be on the ground and help these guys win and I think our spirit in the dressing room is very high and we will keep fighting. ”

If the Lakers miss the playoffs, which feels like a real possibility right now, the organization will go into the offseason with some key questions regarding the roster and team direction. Lakers’ Anthony Davis wonders what could have been as loss to Nuggets further dents LA’s playoff hopes

Dais Johnston

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