The Los Angeles Lakers won’t have home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. They need help if they’re going to escape the play-in tournament. Worse yet, their invitation to the postseason isn’t even guaranteed.
The defending NBA champions might be in trouble.
It’s very simple for the Lakers: They win most of their games when LeBron James plays and lose most of their games when he doesn’t. With him sidelined for 23 of the Lakers’ last 25 games, they’ve fallen to No. 7 in the West — as low as they have been since late December. The most likely fate for them is playing a game (or two) in the new play-in . . .