LOS ANGELES — With just eight games left to play in the season and playoffs out of the picture, what is there left to play for the Los Angeles Lakers?
What is left is an unlikely role, but one that the team has appeared to accept and that is being a playoff spoiler to those teams still left in playoff contention at this point in the season. This was perfectly on display Sunday night as their 115-99 win over the Phoenix Suns (44-30) now puts them just a half game above the Memphis Grizzles (43-30) and tied with the Dallas Mavericks (44-30) in the race for the final two playoff spots.
“”We’re trying to be the player-haters of the year. That’s definitely what we’re trying to do, and we embrace it,” said Kendall Marshall, who had a double-double of 13 points and 11 assists in the win. “We want to keep teams out of the playoffs and mess up seedings. and any type of motivation we can get to grow as a team is good for us right now
This is position that the for the Lakers are far being used to as they have only missed the playoffs six times in their 66-years of existence, but it is one that they fully accept and take on as a challenge for the remainder of the season. Los Angeles will have a handful of opportunities to be influential on the playoff seeding as they play the Grizzles, Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors in their last nine games of the season.
In a forgettable year that featured more downs than ups, the Lakers are team looking for anything that could possibly give meaning the final few games on the schedule and being the ones that could hurt the playoff chances for another team is what will push the team down the stretch of the season.
“Welcome to the Player Haters Ball,” Nick Young said after the team’s win over the Suns. “We trying to hate, hate, hate hate…”
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
Bob Garcia IV
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