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On Wednesday night, the Lakers officially lost their chances for play-in. LeBron James and the rest of his team failed to even make it to the top 10 in the Western Conference. This highlights the crazy competition in the NBA and proves that the concept of building a franchise around a few superstars no longer guarantees success. After all, the second favourite of the season – Brooklyn – is also on the verge. It will be difficult for Steve Nash’s team to get into the play-in for the playoffs games. But it is things like this which make betting on sports more exciting.

Bad choice and injuries


San Antonio beat Denver (116:97) and secured 10th place in the Western Conference. This became clear after the loss of the Lakers to Phoenix (110:121). LeBron missed this game due to injury, and the efforts of Westbrook and Davis (the two scored 49 points) were not enough to beat last year’s finalists and leaders in the current championship. As a result, 37-year-old James will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in his career. This has happened previously with Cleveland in the 2003/04 and 2004/05 seasons, as well as in his first season with the Lakers (2018/19).

Out of 79 matches of the regular season, the Lakers won only 31, even though before the start of the season, bookmakers predicted Frank Vogel’s team would win at least 53 games and get into the top 3 of the West. It seemed convincing. Rob Pelinka made some crucial decisions, signing Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn (who never played a single game for the Lakers due to injury), Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony and Avery Bradley. This created a completely unique squad, but many experts wondered whether a team with so many stars would find common ground. Then again, the same doubts arose two years ago. But Frank Vogel managed to win the title straight away, and the Californians were the best team in the tournament, even though the season ended in the bubble.

Back then, having two superstars was enough, and now there’s also Westbrook, who was signed before the season. The MVP of 2017 was brought on board to reduce the load on LeBron in the regular season and provide the club with the energy that will allow the Lakers to be in the top 4, get the most out of their floor advantage, and allow James to save breath for the playoffs.

But it worked out differently. Westbrook turned out to be a man who couldn’t adapt to the new requirements. He still fiddled with the ball too much and played poorly without it. This game style does not match LeBron, who is used to coordinating the team’s game himself. Also, team chemistry. Russell single-handedly ruined a couple of endings, thus spoiling the atmosphere of the team. And finally, the defence. The top defence was the team’s strong point over the past two years. Westbrook and Carmelo did not fit into the system, which hit Vogel’s brand identity hard.

Westbrook played for almost 35 minutes but was ineffective during the defence, and he is becoming less beneficial for the team in the attack, scoring only 18.5 points and 7.1 assists. His performance was worse only in his debut season. In addition, the player started having back problems. Of course, there’s also the fact that Nunn was also missing; he would’ve added balance to the team. Davis was also out, having missed more than two months in total due to injury. LeBron, too, missed a lot of games.

Davis told ESPN that he thinks a lot about what kind of team they would’ve been had they stayed healthy the whole year, and he himself, LeBron and Nunn would have played more games. The squad was organised in the beginning of the year and looked good on paper, but this potential was not fully realised since one of the roster members was always missing.

The defence


Brooklyn had been predicted to win first place in the Eastern Conference by the bookmakers, but they had a no less complicated season. In fact, with three games of the regular season left, the Nets are in ninth place with 41 wins. They will have to fight for a playoff place in the play-in games. As you probably remember, the seventh and eighth teams of each conference play against each other in the play-in tournament, and the winner earns the seventh seed number. The team that lost faces the winner of the ninth and tenth teams, and the best in this confrontation earns the eighth seed.

The reason for this is Kyrie Irving’s anti-vax stance (he3 was allowed to participate in the home matches of Nets only recently), Kevin Durant’s knee injury and missing over 20 games, Joe Harris’ second ankle surgery, James Harden’s scandalous trade to Philadelphia… In general, the whole season was very chaotic. The Nets had 40 options for starting fives, which is a lot.

Nash managed to find some kind of balance only towards the end of the regular season. Durant and the other star players have won nine of the last 15 matches. At the same time, the team’s defence remains weak. Brooklyn takes 25th place in the league’s rating based on the defence. This is primarily because the Nets have poor defence skills. Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge should be put out to pasture. The team cannot compete with the opponent under the net. In fact, the only players who have defence skills are Patty Mills, Bruce Brown (season opener) and Irving (when he wants to).

There are also problems with the offensive. The team lost an elite sniper in the person of Joe Harris (in two of the last three seasons, he was the three-pointer percentage leader), and the roster is too small for successful performance in the playoffs. So Nets fans need to brace themselves for the worst and bear this in mind when makin bets on basketball.

Eastern Conference

  1. Miami – 52 wins/28 losses
  2. Boston – 49/30
  3. Milwaukee – 49/30
  4. Philadelphia – 49/30
  5. Toronto – 46/33
  6. Chicago – 45/34


  1. Cleveland – 43/37
  2. Brooklyn – 41/38
  3. Atlanta – 41/38
  4. Charlotte – 40/39


  1. Washington – 35/44
  2. New York – 35/44
  3. Indiana – 25/55
  4. Detroit – 23/56
  5. Orlando – 21/59

Western Conference

  1. Phoenix – 63/16
  2. Memphis – 55/24
  3. Golden State – 50/29
  4. Dallas – 49 /30
  5. Utah – 47/32
  6. Denver – 47/33


  1. Minnesota – 45/35
  2. Clippers – 39/40
  3. New Orleans – 35/44
  4. San Antonio – 34/45


  1. Lakers – 31/48
  2. Sacramento – 29/51
  3. Portland – 27/52
  4. Oklahoma City – 24/55
  5. Houston – 20/60

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