LA Clippers: Making the playoffs a bold, brilliant free agency pitch

The season effectively ended on March 2 when the Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns, the fifth team with sub-.400 winning percentages the Lakers had lost to. After all, Harris seemed to be their co-best player (with Lou Williams) and - at the trade deadline - the Kings and Lakers looked like safe choices to overlap them to reach the playoffs.

While speaking with ESPN, Bryant expressed sympathy for his former team and attributed their struggles to the multiple injuries James and other key players faced throughout the year.

Regardless, the Lakers and James need to hit the ground running next season and attempt to silence the doubters. You've got to come out and work.

After five losses in their first eight games, Johnson gave coach Luke Walton a pointed lecture about the Lakers' sluggish start, which was promptly leaked to the media.

James did start and play 35 minutes Sunday in the Lakers' 124-123 loss at NY, finishing with 33 points on 11-of-26 shooting with eight assists and six rebounds.


World Peace added that age finally caught up to James who at 34 is playing his 16th season in the National Basketball Association, which includes nine finals runs.

James played in Friday's contest at Staples Center Arena despite missing games recently to get rest for his lingering groin injury.

And it speaks volumes about the problems at the Lakers that it will be the first playoffs without James featuring since 2005. It's still about going out there and respecting the game and giving everything we have to try to win.

Harden finished 9-13 from beyond the arc and shot 19-34 from the floor. If Kevin Durant leaves Golden State and the Clippers sign one superstar free agent (especially him, or Kawhi Leonard) they are instantly a finals contender. The Spurs led by six points with four minutes remaining in the fourth before Harden took control again. His 27 points in the quarter were the second-most in franchise history, trailing only Vernon Maxwell's 30 in 1991.


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