Opinion: Lakers haters must face inconvenient truth

LOS ANGELES — What a joyful time to be a Lakers hater.

They have lost five of their last six games.

They are on pace to miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

They are unraveling despite the presence of LeBron James.

And for haters of the Lakers, there is a sweet bonus: The team’s own fans are turning against the team! (See Snoop Dogg’s recent rant.)

But for those relishing the schadenfreude, there is an inconvenient truth: the Lakers are victims of misfortune. Hideously bad luck. Manifesting in injuries.

Monday was the latest reminder, with Brandon Ingram sidelined with a shoulder injury and Kyle Kuzma hobbling to the bench in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle before the Clippers pulled away for a 113-105 victory at Staples Center.

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma grabs his ankle after landing awkwardly during the second half against the Clippers. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images)

True, Lakers haters should feel free to cackle over the following:

► Out of the NBA’s 30 teams, the Lakers rank last in free-throw shooting (69.1 percent), 28th in 3-point shooting (33.6 percent), tied for 28th in turnovers per game (15.3) and 24th in points allowed per game (113.9). They are 5 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

But their luck has been just as bad.

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When James suffered a groin injury Christmas Day, the Lakers were en route to a victory over the Warriors and improving to 20-14. When he returned to the lineup after missing 17 games, the Lakers were 27-25 and never regained their chemistry. Or their full strength.

Lonzo Ball has missed the past 17 games with an ankle sprain.

Rajon Rondo missed 17 games while recovering from surgery on a broken metacarpal on his right hand and missed another 14 games while recovering from surgery for a ligament injury on his right hand.

“I think the injuries are catching up a little bit," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after his team’s loss to the Clippers on Monday night.

It’s a truth the Lakers haters must acknowledge. Before they continue to joyfully gloat.

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