Lakers' Kuzma exits after turning ankle

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The front office secured LeBron James on the first day of free agency and the team was going to build on a young core that was showing promising signs the year prior.

Following their loss against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, the Lakers are 30-34 for the season and are 5.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs, who now occupy the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference standings. Of the Lakers' remaining games, only four are against teams who will not be involved in the postseason-three if one gives the Washington Wizards, now 3.5 games behind a playoff spot, a chance. The Lakers seemed destined for the playoffs this season, but then the groin injury hit LeBron. But denying Walton an opportunity to at finish out a season wrought with drama and distraction since James's first dribble in purple and gold would be cruel and needless.

Kyle Kuzma too suffered an ankle injury last night and an MRI scan shows that he will surely be out against the Nuggets. Although the Lakers are most likely out of the playoff picture, they do have an outside chance to land Zion Williamson and the number one draft pick as a consolation prize.

"We've got too much work to do to start reflecting right now", Walton said.

"He's got some time to get better there, and this [missing the playoffs] is not going to suddenly undo all of that good work". It has more to do with the ramifications of every loss as the National Basketball Association approaches the postseason. He has increased his workload to a tiring 40-plus minutes in five of the Lakers' past eight games, though L.A. has lost six of those contests. After missing out on the playoffs for the last six seasons, fans, analysts, media members, and oddsmakers were confident they would be back this year.

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Getty Images

Unfortunately for James and the Lakers, he missed the shot. He was seen limping considerably after the game. The veteran point guard has now scored in double-digits in four of his last five games.

"I can speak for myself, I can't speak for everybody else", James said, when asked how the Lakers would approach their grueling stretch run.

"Continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances", James said.

Before the game, Zubac talked about the qualitative differences between the two LA teams and received many messages from supporters of his former club. "'Cause someone is always watching".

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