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Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 113-105 loss to the Clippers

Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 113-105 loss to the Clippers
Lakers guard Josh Hart tries to regain control of the ball as he drives past Clippers guard Landry Shamet during the second half Monday. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

The Lakers are nearing a point in the year that they didn’t think they’d have to deal with this season.

It’s the meaningless games portion of the season.

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The playoffs aren’t mathematically out of reach, but the Lakers don’t have a realistic chance to get there. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 113-105 loss to the Clippers on Monday night.

1. LeBron James and Luke Walton haven’t yet talked about his workload, but eventually they will. He’s played around 40 minutes for the last three games and eventually that won’t make sense. “This was definitely a game we needed tonight for obvious reasons; they’re a team we were chasing, we didn’t take care of business,” James said. “So you kind of look at the rest of the games, and look at the percentages of what’s going on there in the future, and see what makes more sense for not only me but the team itself as well.”

2. The Lakers’ injury situation keeps getting worse. Brandon Ingram seemed fine at shootaround, but later that afternoon the Lakers discovered he might be out with a sore shoulder. Kyle Kuzma sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter. Josh Hart is playing through, but still dealing with his knee tendinitis. And of course, Lonzo Ball still hasn’t been able to return.

3. Rajon Rondo became the only player to notch a triple-double with five different teams. Monday night he had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. It speaks to the somewhat journeyman nature of his career, but it also speaks to Rondo’s unwillingness to concede anywhere he’s been. He’s forced himself into the conversation on every team by being a dependable player.

4. Josh Hart had a nice game for the Lakers. “It was great to see Josh play well again,” James said. Hart made six of 11 shots and scored 17 points with four rebounds and a blocked shot. He was also very active and energetic defensively. There was a play to open the fourth quarter when Hart was the only Laker to get back in transition.

5. Some of the Lakers are still holding onto the faintest of hopes to make the playoffs. Hart talked at length about that Monday night. “If you’re not motivated, our backs are against the wall, everyone’s counting us out,” Hart said. “We’re probably the most criticized team in the NBA. If that doesn’t motivate you, if that doesn’t get you up in the morning, get you ready to go out there and compete, nothing will.”

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