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NBA Playoff Odds: Clippers, Spurs Favored in West over LeBron James, Lakers

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) stands on the court in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

As losses continue to pile up for the Los Angeles Lakers, the odds are stacked against LeBron James as he attempts to reach the postseason for the 14th consecutive season.

According to Bovada, both the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs have better odds of earning a playoff berth than the Lakers:

B/R Betting @br_betting

Odds to make NBA playoffs 💰 Nets: -1200 Pistons: -700 Spurs: -600 Clippers: -550 Magic: -120 Hornets: +130 Lakers: +225 Heat: +300 Kings: +400 Wolves: +1000 Wizards: +1000 (via Bovada) https://t.co/I9mr4ybU4w

Given the Western Conference standings, those odds should not come as much of a surprise.

The Clippers (34-28) and the Spurs (33-29) currently have a hold on the final two playoff spots out west, with the Lakers (29-31) three games out of the eighth spot with 22 games to play. Both the Sacramento Kings (31-29) and Minnesota Timberwolves (29-31) are also in contention.

James' first year in L.A. has not gone as planned. While the team got off to a 20-14 start to put itself among the best teams in the Western Conference, James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day and subsequently missed 17 games. Los Angeles went just 6-11 during his absence to tumble down the standings.

The three-time NBA champ's return has done little to get the team back on track.

Los Angeles has lost six of its past eight games, and the two victories required James and Co. to rally from 18-plus points. The Lakers' last three defeats have come at the hands of the 20-41 Atlanta Hawks, the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans and the 24-38 Memphis Grizzlies. Luke Walton's squad has not taken advantage of its seemingly winnable games.

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The Lakers are currently twice as likely to get a top-three pick in this year's draft (6 percent) than to make the playoffs (3 percent), according to BPI (h/t ESPN's SportsCenter).

The last time James was not in the playoffs was 2004-05, his second season in the league. Since then, he has led the Cavaliers to the postseason nine times and the Miami Heat four times, making the Finals nine times. In fact, the NBA has not had a Finals without James since 2010.

The Lakers have dug themselves quite the hole. If they can't figure things out quickly, James will see a pair of impressive streaks come to an end.

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