NBA 2022: LeBron James and LA Lakers miss playoffs in utter humiliation, reaction, vs Phoenix Suns

LeBron James and the LA Lakers have been humiliated like never before as their NBA season came to a shuddering halt.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

With three games left of the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers’ season is officially over after a 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday (AEST).

The defeat means the Lakers mathematically cannot finish in 10th spot in the Western Conference standings, which would have been enough to make the play-in tournament.

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From there, they would have had to win two do-or-die games to qualify for the playoffs proper.

San Antonio’s surprise win over the Denver Nuggets earlier in the day meant the Lakers had to beat Phoenix to keep their season alive.

But without LeBron James, who was ruled out of the game with an ankle injury, the Lakers stood no chance against the red-hot Suns, who dominated the contest to snuff out any hope the Lakers had of making the postseason.

Phoenix was never threatened and led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter as LA’s season came to an embarrassing end.

It’s a damning result for one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, who many predicted to finish top of the Western Conference and even go all the way before the season began.

The Lakers have missed the playoffs in two of the four years James has been with the team.

It is a mighty fall from grace for a team that won the championship just two seasons ago.

It’s just the fourth time since James entered the league in 2003 that his team has missed the playoffs, while the Lakers’ 48 losses are the most ever by a team featuring the 37-year-old.

Sitting courtside in street clothes and sunglasses, James could only watch as a disastrous season for the Lakers finally came to a grinding halt.

Midway through the third quarter, the superstar left the court and went down the tunnel, before eventually resuming his place on the bench.

The 2021-22 season was an unmitigated disaster for LA as the recruitment of Russell Westbrook proved to be an abject failure — and pundits were quick to rip into the Lakers.

Basketball writer Farbod Esnaashari tweeted: “Were the 2022 Lakers the most disappointing team in NBA history?”

Former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins said: “This Lakers team not making the playoffs is one the Biggest Disappointments in NBA HISTORY!!!

“It’s one thing to underachieve in the Playoffs but to not make it at all is RIDICULOUS. Carry on….”

NBA editor Davide Chinellato said: “Lakers were built to win this season, adding Russell Westbrook to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“Finishing the season out of the top 10 teams in the West is probably the biggest disaster in franchise history. This team never took off and not just because of injuries …”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel was “extremely disappointed” his team had missed the playoffs.

“I’m disappointed for our fan base,” he said.

“I’m disappointed for the (Lakers owners) Buss family, who gave us all this opportunity. We want to play our part in bringing success to Lakers basketball. We fell short.”

Westbrook said: “It’s obviously disappointing on many levels. Not much you can do about it at this point.”

The victory was extra sweet for the Suns as it was their 63rd win of the season, which is a franchise record for the title favourites.

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