Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis will return to the lineup for the Lakers’ crucial game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, the team announced. James missed the past two games with a sprained left ankle and was cleared to play after undergoing an on-court workout about an hour before tipoff.
Davis has missed the Lakers’ past 18 games with a right mid-foot sprain. L.A. went 4-14 during that span without him, which was the third worst record in the league since the All-Star break.
L.A. comes into Friday’s showdown in the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference, facing No. 9 New Orleans, which is two games up on the Lakers for one of the two play-in tournament berths with six games remaining.
As she launches into what must be an all-too-familiar speech, Buss tells Westbrook about her father, late owner Jerry Buss.
“My dad bought the team in 1979, and his first year of owning the team was Magic [Johnson’s] rookie year and they won a championship that first year. And his goal in buying the Lakers was to someday surpass the Boston Celtics. So we’re now tied with 17 titles …”
“We know what we need to do then,” Westbrook said, jumping in.
“We’re kind of obsessed with 18,” said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who had brought Westbrook to see Buss.
That day and those sentiments are a hazy memory as the Lakers limp to the finish line of the regular season with a 31-45 record and an 11th place standing in the Western Conference, trying to claw their way into the last play-in tournament spot. But it’s a reminder this was a team the highest levels of the organization believed was championship-worthy.
The season’s dreams and its spirit have drained in a long road of disappointment, discontent and bad luck for the 2021-22 Lakers.
The Lakers has gone from high hopes and a Lebron James built roster to a dumpster fire that is a laughing stock of the NBA.