Before Tuesday's (IST) games got underway, FiveThirtyEight.com's playoff predictions gave the Los Angeles Lakers a 7% chance to make the playoffs.
They trailed the San Antonio Spurs by 4.5 games for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with the Sacramento Kings (1.5 games ahead of the Lakers) in their way as well.
With the Spurs and Kings in action and the Lakers and the No. 7 seed LA Clippers (5.0 games ahead of LAL) going head-to-head, there was bound to be some shifting in the West playoff picture - you would have thought.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, that was not the case.
The Nuggets trailed by as much as 21 points against the Spurs but rapidly cut into that lead by burying nine 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. They got it to a one-point game with under five seconds to go and after Rudy Gay missed a pair of free throws, the Nuggets had their chance to complete the comeback.
Gary Harris got a decent look at the buzzer but the shot rimmed out as the Spurs held on to get the key win - a huge blow to the Lakers' playoff hopes.
Next, it was the Sacramento Kings hosting the New York Knicks. The Knicks gave the Kings everything they had as neither team led by more than 10 points before the fourth quarter but the Kings took a 14-point lead in the final frame and closed out the win - another blow to the Lakers' playoff hopes.
And finally, the Lakers had a chance to take matters into their own hands to keep the standings the same as they were heading into the night, and they dropped the ball.
The Clippers took it to the Lakers, defeating them 113-105 behind 23 points from Danilo Gallinari and 21 points off the bench from super-sub Lou Williams.
LeBron James had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds but it was not enough to defeat LA's other team.
After tonight's results, the Lakers' playoff chances are slim-to-none.
|Current seed||Team||Percent chance to make the playoffs|
|No. 7||LA Clippers||96%|
|No. 8||San Antonio Spurs||94%|
|No. 9||Sacramento Kings||6%|
|No. 10||Los Angeles Lakers||1%|
For perspective, they now have the same percent chance as the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves to qualify for the playoffs.
Now sitting at 5.5 games back from the final playoff spot with just 18 games remaining in the season, the Lakers will need a miracle if they are going to pull off the improbable.
While counting out LeBron has not gone well in the past, the odds are stacked against him as his 13-year playoff streak is more than in jeopardy.