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Lakers Odds: LeBron James, LA Favored to Miss Playoffs After Loss to Suns

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James paues during the closing seconds of the team's NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Bucks won 131-120. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The woes of the Los Angeles Lakers have reached season-threatening proportions. 

According to Jeff Sherman of Super Book USA, the Lakers now hold -900 odds to miss the postseason and +600 odds to make the playoffs.  

Interestingly, however, the Lakers still hold surprisingly positive odds to both reach the NBA Finals and win the title this season:

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

@betonline_ag Updated Western Conference champion odds per @betonline_ag: GSW - 2/7 HOU - 8/1 DEN - 10/1 OKC - 11/1 LAL - 22/1 UTA - 25/1 POR - 50/1 SAS - 50/1 LAC - 150/1 SAC - 150/1 DAL - 250/1 MIN - 250/1 NOP - 250/1

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Updated NBA champion odds per @betonline_ag: GSW - 4/9 MIL - 8/1 PHI - 12/1 TOR - 12/1 HOU - 16/1 BOS - 18/1 OKC - 25/1 DEN - 28/1 LAL - 40/1 UTA - 50/1 POR - 66/1 IND - 100/1 SAS - 100/1 LAC - 300/1 SAC - 300/1 BKN/CHA/DAL/DET/MIA/MIN/NOP/ORL/WAS all 500/1

That discrepancy in the odds between the team even making the playoffs and going on a deep run is probably due to LeBron James, who took a pretty mediocre Cleveland Cavaliers lineup to the NBA Finals last year and has reached eight straight Finals. 

It could also be that the books are still getting action from optimistic Lakers fans who are unwilling to lose faith in a LeBron-led team.

But the Lakers have been dreadful of late. They've lost 12 of their last 17 games, haven't won back-to-back games since mid-January and have fallen to 30-33 on the season. They sit 4.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, the respective seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference playoff picture, and are even 1.5 games back of the Sacramento Kings in the postseason chase.

Injuries have played a part, however. The team went just 7-12 when James was out with a groin strain between late December and early February. And in the 16 games Lonzo Ball has missed with an ankle sprain since Jan. 21, the team is just 5-11.

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In the six games James and Ball were both sidelined, the team went 2-4.

Ball's return date remains unclear. On Friday, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com reported that the Lakers would re-evaluate Ball's ankle sprain in one week. There's little question the Lakers could use Ball back in the lineup.

"We obviously miss another ball-handler, another playmaker," James said of Ball. "A guy that's very, very good defensively. With his ability to get a steal and pressure the offensive point guard and then push the pace for us, get into our early offense. So we miss that a lot."

And without him, the Lakers are in major danger of missing the postseason, too.

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