LOS ANGELES — Mathematically, the Los Angeles Lakers remain in contention for a spot in the NBA playoffs.
Realistically, those chances are dead after Monday night.
The Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 113-105 and fell further behind their crosstown rival and the San Antonio Spurs in pursuit of the No. 8 playoff seed in the Western Conference.
The Lakers (30-34) lost for the fifth time in six games. They led 82-79 with 2:50 left in the third quarter before the Clippers (37-29) went on a 10-0 run and took control of the game.
“They just had more energy at the end,” Lakers star LeBron James said about the deciding factor of the game.
The Clippers (37-29), seventh in the Western Conference standings, now have a six-game lead over the Lakers and a 3½-game lead over the Sacramento Kings. The Spurs, currently in the eighth spot, are 5½ games ahead of the Lakers. Both the Kings (32-31) and Spurs (36-29) won on Monday.
James, facing the prospect of missing the postseason for the first time since his second year in the NBA, scored a team-high 27 points in the Lakers’ loss at Staples Center.