Lakers’ roller-coaster season, filled with differing chapters, now on the brink

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The Los Angeles Lakers sit on the precipice of playoff elimination, which means it’s basically now or never when it comes to writing about the curious story of a rollercoaster season.

If the form holds and LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Co. continue to be thoroughly outplayed by the Denver Nuggets, seven months of work will come to an end as soon as Monday night, leaving conflicting memories and some chilling thoughts of a campaign with a few different chapters.

James is saying the right things, as is head coach Darvin Ham, but this is essentially done, a 3-0 Denver lead built on the strength of Nikola Jokic, the excellence of Jamal Murray and the ‘Michael Malone’s exceptional coach, leaving nothing behind. air for even the most fanatical purple and gold optimist.

“I only have one,” James told reporters Saturday. “One at a time. Focus on Game 4. That’s all you can really think about.”

Whether the final cut comes quickly or the Lakers can salvage the series’ pride, this season will become a curious tale of swings and weirdness.

The Lakers are on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers are on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference Finals.

After the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 3 loss, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe weigh in on whether this is the end of LeBron James.

Just over a week ago, Los Angeles was the joint favorite to win the championship after knocking off the defending champion Golden State Warriors in an entertaining series that seemed old as James dueled with Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and Steve Kerr tried to imagine it. ways to slow it down.

About six weeks before that, they were completely written off, stuck in 11th place in the Western Conference and sitting out of the play-in tournament.

Perhaps no other team in professional sports is as prone to feeding the whims of public overreaction as the Lakers. The NBA regular season is long enough for numerous story arcs to emerge, and they emerged that they did, twisting and turning and overshadowing the efforts of a team that no one could figure out.

James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record was first seen as a historic push, but by the time he broke it in early February, it had almost become an uncomfortable distraction.

As is often the case with the Lakers, and with James, people want all the answers now, which is why the team was bad to start the campaign with a disjointed 2-10 clip, but not that bad as the talk suggested.

And why their personnel issues were partially alleviated after Russell Westbrook was traded, but not resolved as clearly as they seemed. That’s why they weren’t as awful as they looked with a few weeks left in the regular season, and they weren’t as prominent as we thought a minute, oh, a week ago.

The Lakers got it done on some level and have hope to advance in the offseason, even if the Nuggets’ ass-kicking is summarily completed. You’d have liked the team’s chances against anyone else, but they simply can’t compete against Denver, with Davis unable to live with Jokic and the Lakers finding themselves slower, less accurate and less well-oiled than an opponent they compiled in silence regular season record of 53-29.

James showed what he can still do against the Warriors, all fire and ferocity, and for a fleeting moment, it felt like the postseason was breaking the Lakers’ way. The team was somehow turning into a very likable underdog story, if the term “underdog” could really be applied to a team with James and Davis.

You see it coming, James continues, actors like Austin Reeves and Rui Hachimura brilliant. However, Denver saw fit.

Reality set in early and it’s destined to be another empty year. James surely wants to add at least one more championship to his professional resume, but even with the recent positivity, he still has a long way to go.

What’s needed to thrive in this postseason, we’re now seeing, isn’t just drive and shooting prowess, but the ability to adapt to multiple styles and schemes.

Are the Nuggets a truly disrespected team despite playoff success?

Are the Nuggets a truly under-respected team despite their playoff success?

The Denver Nuggets are one game away from completing a series sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s what a 1 seed in Denver has managed to do, along with the deliciously surprising (and eighth seed) Miami Heat in the East.

The result is a pair of 3-0 walks, which means that unless historical precedent is completely overturned, the Finals won’t be the Lakers-Celtics dream ticket.

Denver vs. Miami isn’t what many would have predicted, and it’s not what TV execs would have picked. But it will be, all things considered, the right matchup, for no other reason than James’ Lakers – and the Celtics – had nothing to give when they needed it most.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX i subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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