The Dallas Mavericks lost a soul-crushing game to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon. Dallas was up by 27 points in the second quarter, but the Lakers stormed back over the final 39 minutes to grab the needed win. Both teams are fighting for playoff positions, and the result felt massive for both teams.
LeBron James had 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block in 37 minutes against the Mavericks. Anthony Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt played massive roles in the win as King James was hobbling around the court after a third-quarter injury scare where he could be heard saying there was a pop. LeBron stayed in the game but limped out of the arena afterward.
Shams Charania broke the news that James is expected to miss multiple weeks with a foot injury. He is still getting opinions, but things sound bad for the 38-year-old. How does his injury impact the Mavs? Here is a closer look.
LeBron James going down improves Dallas Mavericks' chances of making playoffs
The Mavs are currently 32-30 and sixth in the Western Conference. They are clutching the final guaranteed playoff spot with the teams that finished seventh through tenth going to the play-in tournament. No team wants to have to go through the play-in to qualify for the postseason.
Dallas is just 0.5 games ahead of seventh and two games up on the 11th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard is fresh off a 71-point game, and they will push hard to qualify for the postseason. The Lakers are 0.5 games back of Portland and 12th in the West. They have struggled without LeBron in the lineup since he has come to Los Angeles, and the Lakers are not qualifying for the postseason without him.
If the Lakers are out, that leaves 12 teams for ten postseason spots. The Thunder have lost three straight and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is currently injured. If Oklahoma City drops out of the race, only one more team has to fall out. The Jazz are the most likely to miss the play-in tournament after they sold pieces at the deadline.
The Dallas Mavericks should at least be in the play-in tournament, but they have something more important than the standings to focus on down the stretch.