The Los Angeles Lakers have lost six of their last seven games, including a 121-114 loss to the lowly Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.
At 36-28, the Lakers now have an identical record to the seventh-place Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers are only in sixth because they own a tiebreaker with the Blazers from beating them in February.
The No. 7 spot doesn't guarantee a first-round playoff spot this season. The NBA will hold a play-in tournament between the seventh- and eighth-place teams and ninth- and 10th-place teams. The winner of the 7-8 game advances to the first round and the loser of the 7-8 game plays the winner of the 9-10 game to determine the final playoff spot in each conference.
The Lakers may potentially have to participate in the play-in tournament if they continue to slide in the standings. After Sunday's game, James slammed the idea of a play-in tournament.
"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired," James said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
The Lakers began the season 21-6, so it's somewhat surprising that they're even being asked about potentially participating in the play-in tournament.
However, L.A. has been slammed by injuries this season and has had little opportunity to build chemistry. Anthony Davis missed nine weeks with Achilles tendinosis and a calf strain, and James missed six weeks with an ankle sprain.
The Lakers have eight games remaining this season, and it's unlikely they vault back into the top four. L.A. will take on the third-place Denver Nuggets on Monday in hopes of getting back on track.