If the season ended today, the Los Angeles Lakers would not even make the play-in tournament after a painful 114-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The loss moves the Lakers' record to 31-46, and 4-16 in their past 20 games.
The Lakers built this game up as a must-win, re-inserting Anthony Davis to the line-up from a lengthy absence and LeBron James from an ankle sprain, but ultimately could not get stops down the stretch.
James was terrific, scoring 38 points on 13-23 shooting, while Davis was also strong, scoring 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) to go with 12 rebounds and six assists. During Davis' 37 minutes on the floor, the Lakers were plus four.
But the Pelicans duo of C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram would not be denied, as McCollum led the way with 32 points (12-of-23 shooting), while Ingram chipped in with an efficient 29 on 10-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Lakers' five remaining games are at home against the Denver Nuggets, away at the Phoenix Suns, away at the Golden State Warriors, at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and away against the Nuggets.
The San Antonio Spurs currently lead the race for the 10 seed by one game.
Tough finish. pic.twitter.com/XC8fR9KkVq— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 2, 2022
Fill-in Grizzlies fill it up
Another game without Ja Morant, and another win for the Memphis Grizzlies as they got the better of the full-strength Phoenix Suns 122-114.
As well as Morant, Memphis was without center Steven Adams, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr and emerging shooting guard Desmond Bane, but in front of their home fans the replacement Grizzlies were up to the task.
Dillon Brooks top-scored for the Grizzlies with 30 points (11-of-28 shooting) and seven assists, while Devin Booker had 41 points on 17-of-28 shooting for the Suns.
Memphis are now 20-2 in games Morant has missed.
Celtics win a shoot-out, Covington goes bananas
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both surpassed 30 points in the Boston Celtics' 128-123 win against the Indiana Pacers.
Tatum finished with 31 on 10-of-24 shooting, while Brown had 32 on 12-of-18, but the Celtics had to withstand a sharpshooting display from Tyrese Haliburton, who had 30 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including six-of-six from long range.
Meanwhile, Robert Covington played the game of his life as his Los Angeles Clippers beat an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks side 153-119.
Covington finished with 43 points, going 11-of-18 from three-point range, setting a new franchise record for threes made in a game, beating J.J. Redick and Caron Butler's previous joint-record of nine.