For the first time in 13 years, LeBron James will not play in an NBA postseason.
James's Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention after suffering a 111–106 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Before this season, James had made an NBA Finals appearance in eight straight seasons.
James finished the game with 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds despite the loss. He's currently averaging 27.4points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.1 assists this season.
"Obviously, it's been a tough season for all of us," James said after the game. "It's not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happened. Suspensions, injuries, things of that nature. And just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes. But you don't even try to wrap your head around it, you just keep pushing. Just try to get better tonight, move on to tomorrow, and go from there. Playoffs are never promised. You've got to come out and work. For me personally, you just continue to put the work in and see what you can do to help."
Expectations were modest for James's first year in Los Angeles, as the team still had a young core of players and filled in the roster with others on one-year contracts. The beginning of the James era has been rockier than expected, however. James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day that kept him out until Jan. 31. The Lakers went 6–11 in his absence.
Los Angeles also failed to acquire Anthony Davis ahead of the trade deadline, an addition that would have bolstered the team's roster in the midst of a playoff push. The Lakers are now one game worse than they were a season ago with 10 games left to play.
The Lakers will now miss the playoffs for their sixth consecutive season, their longest postseason drought in franchise history.
The team currently sits at 31–41and in 11thplace in the Western Conference.