To add injury to insult, LeBron James aggravated his already troublesome knee.
LeBron confirms that he aggravated his knee when he got grabbed by Winslow in transition.
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) February 10, 2022
The four-time MVP recently missed multiple games due to knee swelling. He had 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but he appeared to come up gimpy at one point down the stretch.
Without Russell Westbrook, who missed the game due to a back ailment, L.A. looked like it was playing at half speed and half intensity.
Third-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker had one of his best games of late with a very efficient 14 points, but in the end, James didn’t get enough help.
The Lakers ultimately lost this game in the effort department, as Portland outrebounded them, forced 21 turnovers and outscored them by a wide margin on the fast break.
With a 26-30 record, the Lakers are still in ninth place in the Western Conference, which would place them in the play-in tournament if the season ended today.
But with the trading deadline just hours away, the pressure continues to build on them to make something happen and turn their season around.
If James has to miss any real time due to his ailing knee, the Lakers could very well drop out of the playoff picture altogether with only about two months remaining in the NBA’s regular season.