LeBron out as Lakers facing possible elimination

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PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Lakers will head into a potential elimination game without their leader, LeBron James.

James was ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns with left ankle soreness, the team announced. It will be James’ third missed game out of the Lakers’ last four.

The Lakers, who have lost six games in a row, are two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament. The Lakers can be eliminated from the play-in tournament contention with a loss to the Suns, coupled with a Spurs road win against the Denver Nuggets.

San Antonio could be without Dejounte Murray (non-COVID illness) and Jakob Poeltl (back) for Tuesday’s game.

Even if Los Angeles wins its final four games, the Spurs would have to finish 1-3 over their final four games for the Lakers to get the 10th seed.

James is averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season.

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