The Los Angeles Lakers are in a desperate position. After six losses in the last eight games (and a 5-12 record over the last 17 contests), LeBron James and company enter Monday night’s showdown with the LA Clippers with only an outside shot at a playoff berth (FiveThirtyEight gives the Lakers a seven percent chance) and, with that in mind, the result will be pivotal as a handful of teams jockey for postseason positioning.
However, the Lakers won’t be at full strength, as word broke late on Monday that Brandon Ingram will be unable to play as a result of a right shoulder ailment.
Given the stakes, this is brutal news for the team in purple and gold, particularly given the way Ingram has played in recent days. In the last six games, the talented swingman is averaging 27.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and, in a larger sample of 17 contests, Ingram is averaging 22.5 points per game on 56 percent shooting and 41 percent from three.
It would be fair to say that Ingram hasn’t always been consistent but, in the same breath, he is playing some of the best basketball of his career and this is a significant blow to the Lakers. Of course, it helps to have LeBron James on your side but, in short, the Lakers have a more difficult task in a spot in which there is very little margin for error.