NBA Playoffs Slipping Away For Los Angeles Lakers

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Over the course of the last 14 months of so, the Los Angeles Lakers have had very little good news to celebrate. It all began with Kobe Bryant‘s torn Achilles Tendon followed by a first-round postseason exit. The combination of early playoff failure, Bryant’s uncertain future, and Mike D’Antoni’s philosophy chased away Dwight Howardleaving the golden boys of LA high and dry.

The start of the 2013-14 season did not bring much relief. Bryant’s brief return ended with knee injury and he could miss another month. More recently, Pau Gasol strained his groin and will miss at least another two weeks. Despite the NBA All-Star break and Friday night victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, 112-98, the Lakers are a long shot for the playoffs.

Currently with the record of 18-32, Los Angeles remains roughly 11 games behind the eighth place Dallas Mavericks. To add insult to injury, Bryant and Gasol probably won’t be back until March, and that is on the optimistic side. That does not leave D’Antoni much to work with. There is still Steve Nash, but at this point in his career, he is a mere shell of himself. The rest of the rooster is made up of no-names and roles players to fill in around Gasol and Bryant. None of them are capable of stepping up in the absence of the stars.

Laker Nation should start begging that either someone steps up or the team makes a move before the trade deadline. They are running out of time to make a move and with teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves all fighting for playoff contention, it might be easier to say that the Lakers’ playoff hopes are over. That technically isn’t true and I have seen crazier things happen, so I won’t rule them out yet. But I will say that if they don’t do something to coincide with Bryant’s and Gasol’s injuries, then this season is useless and 2014 Free Agency is the current focus of the organization.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. You can Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.

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