Another loss and more woes for depleted Lakers

LeBron James double-teamed by Boston Celtics players Jaylen Brown and Al Horford at Staples Centre on Saturday. The Los Angeles Lakers lost 120-107 despite his triple-double.
LeBron James double-teamed by Boston Celtics players Jaylen Brown and Al Horford at Staples Centre on Saturday. The Los Angeles Lakers lost 120-107 despite his triple-double.PHOTO: DPA

LOS ANGELES • For the next month, the Los Angeles Lakers will try to find ways to motivate themselves without the possibility of the play-offs as a potential reward.

And they will do it without two members of their young core.

Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball will not play again this season, the Lakers medical staff determined before their 120-107 National Basketball Association defeat by the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

The hosts have now lost five games in a row and are 30-36, seven games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and final play-off spot in the West.

Besides the missing Ball, who has been on the sidelines after suffering an ankle sprain on Jan 19, and Ingram, the Lakers were also without Kyle Kuzma (ankle) and Lance Stephenson (sprained toe).

Ingram was diagnosed with a deep venous thrombosis, or a blood clot, in his arm, a condition that can be life threatening if not properly treated. If a blood clot travels to a person's lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism and it also caused the end of former Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh's career.

In February 2016, doctors found multiple blood clots in the 11-time All-Star's calves, and he never played another game again.

Hours after the Lakers announced Ingram's diagnosis, Ball was examined by doctors and the Lakers decided to hold him out for the rest of the season, according to a person familiar with the decision.

"It just puts everything in perspective," LeBron James, who led the Lakers with a triple-double, scoring 30 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, said.

"At the end of the day, we play the game that we love, our league is all about wins and losses and that's what it's all about.

"But, when you have something like that happen, you're able to put those things in perspective and understand how important those things are as well.

"And, on the flip side, you just don't take an opportunity for granted when you do get on the floor because it can be taken away from you. Your season can be shut down like BI's instance, like Zo's instance. Like their cases.

"Obviously, we wish the best of health, not only to BI but to Zo as well."

Recalling the "uncertainty" Bosh felt as he dealt with his blood clot issues, James added: A lot of things that go through your head. You just got to trust the medical staff that is put in place for you, get your second opinion if you need one to clear your head.

"And you take the necessary steps to getting back to being healthy. That's what's the most important.

Lakers coach Luke Walton addressed the team about Ingram's condition, but declined to say anything about his condition or his mental state upon hearing the news.

"I talked to the guys; that's what we do," he said. "But I'm giving them the same I gave you - details aren't mine to give, but I did talk to the team about it."

In Milwaukee, Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points as the Bucks beat the Charlotte Hornets 131-114 to become the first team in the league to reach the 50-win plateau.

DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Another loss and more woes for depleted Lakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe