What in the heck is going on with the Los Angeles Lakers? In what was supposed to be another season where the team was potentially going to push for the NBA Finals and impress for California sports betting supporters, they’re currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs. With that, California sports fans are worried about Lakers postseason odds and they have every right to be.
As of this writing, Los Angeles is a lowly 28-35 on the year, a head-turning 4.5 games back of the Clippers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. When you have a team that includes LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and other superstars, there’s simply no reason that a squad can be seven games under .500. It just makes no sense and plenty of people are concerned.
According to local reports, the bets for the Lakers to even make the playoffs are down. Entering the season, the Lakers had high NBA Finals odds, but that’s no longer the case. According to the best rated online sportsbooks, LA holds +5500 odds to win it all, which is the 13th best out of all the teams in the league. That’s truly wild to think about and it has left a sour taste in people’s mouths.
It was only two years ago that LeBron and the Lakers were able to win the NBA Finals. Since then, however, the productivity for the team has gone south. Injuries have impacted this team, but there’s still no reason they shouldn’t be playing at a high level. This team needs to figure things out as soon as possible, otherwise they could end up watching the playoffs from home, which no one wants to see.
Game on the line. Just #STAYME7O. pic.twitter.com/nV9PCiUjb4
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 7, 2022
LeBron’s showing against the Warriors has given the LA faithful some hope
It goes without saying, but LeBron’s latest showing against the Warriors has given the LA faithful some hope. In case you somehow missed it, the Lakers and Warriors treated us all to one of the best games of the year last Saturday. In the end, however, the Lakers were able to take down Steph Curry and Golden State in a close battle. The Staples Center was rocking from start to finish for that highly-exciting one.
In the win, James was nothing short of brilliant, as he scored a game-high 56 points. King James couldn’t miss, as he was knocking down shots from all over the hardwood. The Golden State defense had no answers for him. James, 37, turned back the clock and looked like someone who was in their 20s with his amazing game. As you might have been able to guess, he was all smiles after the final whistle.
“Our guys were following me off the floor tonight going into the locker room and they asked me, ‘How does it feel to score 56?'” James said via ESPN after he put together one of the best performances of the year for an NBA player. “I said, ‘Right now, I don’t give a damn about the 56. I’m just happy we got a win.’ That’s just literally the first thing that came to my mind.”
What’s even better here for the Lakers is that they were able to showcase that they can hang tough with an elite squad like the Warriors. While this team may not look like a playoff team, that victory over Golden State could provide them with the confidence needed to try and go on a strong run to close out the regular season. This will be needed for them to somehow sneak into the playoffs.
UNREAL. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/DFzgCfjUY6
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 6, 2022
The pressure is on general manager Rob Pelinka for the Lakers to deliver
With the end of the season around the corner, there’s no denying that the pressure is on general manager Rob Pelinka for the Lakers to deliver. While team owner Jeanie Buss has come out and said that Pelinka’s job is safe, there’s a chance he could get fired if LA misses the playoffs. For the Lakers to not be among the best eight teams in the Western Conference? That’d be out of this world, and fans would riot.
Fans have been calling for Pelinka to get fired for a while now, and those chants only got louder when the Lakers didn’t make any kind of a splash during free agency. At the end of the day, it’s on Pelinka to build the best squad possible. When the Lakers brought in Westbrook, there was hope he’d be able to step up and return to his best form, but that just hasn’t been the case, as Westbrook doesn’t look the same.
It was a bit of a gamble for Pelinka and thus far things just haven’t paid off for him. Should LA miss the postseason, people will look back on that Westbrook decision and contemplate whether or not this was a big reason why LA struggled throughout the year. On the other hand, if LA can make the playoffs and go on a deep run, it could be enough to save Pelinka’s job. LA needs to step up for him.