Lakers Officially Eliminated from Playoff Contention

What the Lakers can learn from D'Angelo Russell's breakthrough season

What the Lakers can learn from D'Angelo Russell's breakthrough season

But Russell said it was nothing personal, and he didn't think much about putting the final nail in the Lakers' playoff hopes.

"It sounds good on paper, but at the end of the day, we're not playing them", Russell said. But defensively we were battling, we out-rebounded them, we hit more free throws than them. McGee was the beneficiary of many assists from LeBron James, who racked up a near triple double with 25 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds.

"It's been a tough season for all of us", James said.

"It's not what we signed up for". Throughout the year, things happen. You don't even try to wrap your head around it.

"That's not me feeling sorry for us, that's me telling the guys we have to keep playing this hard and find a way to scrap the next win out because it's the only way to get off the type of skid that we're on".

Russell has set benchmarks for counting and advanced stats, and he has also demonstrated a flair for showmanship, most recently when his 27 fourth-quarter points - en route to a career-high. That stunning effort in Sacramento was the latest highlight of a breakout season for LA's former No. 2 overall pick. "It's definitely a place that gave me an opportunity. You know, Chauncey Billups, the (Steve) Nashes of that group, so I'm trying to consider myself one of those guys".

Russell has grown into an All-Star in Brooklyn, while the Lakers have stayed in largely the same place in the standings despite adding James last summer.

JaVale McGee had a career night with 33 points to go with 20 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Lakers throughout the night.

Nets: Allen Crabbe missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee.

Lakers: Tyson Chandler got his first game action since March 2. Kuzma hit a 3-pointer from half-court to beat the shot clock in the first quarter.

Spencer Dinwiddie added 19 points in his hometown as the Nets (38-36) bolstered their playoff chances with their second straight win after an 0-3 start to this seven-game road trip. Brooklyn is seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, a half-game behind sixth-place Detroit and 2 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Orlando. It's all the more staggering when examining the first 65 years of the franchise's existence; the Lakers missed the playoffs just five times during those six-plus decades.

Following a failed pursuit of Anthony Davis at February's trade deadline, Lakers brass still put the postseason as their team's top priority, with general manager Rob Pelinka likening the additions of Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala to the New England Patriots getting Julian Edelman back off suspension and making a run to the Super Bowl.

During his run of eight straight National Basketball Association finals with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, James thrived playing with gifted three-point shooters - this year the Lakers are second bottom in three-point percentage. He went 15 for 20 from the field, repeatedly converting in the paint on 10 assists from James.