Broadcasts continue to refer to the “playoff hopes” of a Lakers team sitting six and a half games out of the final postseason spot in the West, with fewer than twenty games left to play. This team, from the vaunted Western Conference, would fail to qualify for the playoffs both in the “JV” East, as well as under a straight 1-16 seeding system. These guys have conspired to lose nine of twelve games since the greatest player of this generation returned from injury. We’re not having such conversations about the Minnesota Timberwolves or the New Orleans Pelicans. These obligatory mentions aren’t a sincere discussion of a scenario grounded in reality, but a testament to famous people in a glamorous location, and a desperate need to construct an illusion of hope around the prospects for their season, long past the point at which it makes any sense to continue doing so.
We will laugh about the “sad” and “depressing” race for the final playoff spot in the East, in willful ignorance of the facts that: the teams at the bottom of that playoff picture sport records superior to that of LeBron and Co. and, more importantly, appear to be trying for more than a quarter at a time.