Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions In the midst of the disappointing season, Muscala has been lauded as a professional. He hasn’t become embittered by the trade or how fans perceive him – Coach Luke Walton credited him for staying consistent in his approach despite how his minutes waned.“He hasn’t had a lot of opportunity,” he said last month. “But he’s been great as far as being positive, showing up as teammate and doing what we ask of him.”Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I try to shut it out: That stuff can be a distraction,” he said. “I guess these last few games have gone well for us, but I’m still kinda disappointed with how I played. But it is what it is at this point. I can’t change it.”Any slice of Muscala’s acquisition doesn’t grade out well. He’s averaged just 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in his Lakers tenure. Injuries and DNPs kept him out for 10 of 26 possible games entering the team’s season finale. Presumably acquired as a stretch five, he’s shot just 34 percent, and 12 of his 17 3-pointers entering Tuesday night came in his previous five games – with the Lakers long out of the playoffs. General Manager Rob Pelinka’s sentiment that Muscala and fellow trade deadline acquisition Reggie Bullock could have an effect like Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman had on the New England Patriots has become a punchline.Across the hall, Zubac has become an everyday starter for the Clippers, averaging 8.9 points and 7.6 rebounds and recently felt good enough to talk some smack on the franchise that dealt him. An ESPN report recounted a table of Clipper executives laughing that Zubac fell into their laps in exchange for Muscala.Very few of the factors that have come to define Muscala’s season, his sixth in the NBA, have been under his control. He rolled his ankle in his first game for the Lakers, and he never found a rhythm after that. But he doesn’t shun accountability either.“It’s kind of been a frustrating season for me, but there were still some opportunities. So I gotta focus on that,” he said. “Injuries are a part of the game. You never want to use that as an excuse. I’ve always dealt with ankle injuries, and I know how to deal with them.” As the Lakers have gone on a roll to finish the season, powered by G Leaguers and upcoming free agents, Muscala has had a platform to produce a little more. He’s averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds, shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range.Muscala said he’s felt loose the last few nights, able to play a little more free as the season winds down. Taking some time to reflect and relax afterward is high on his agenda.“Getting traded a couple times for the first time in my career, it’s been quite a ride,” Muscala said. “But at the same time, I’ve been treated super well here. And I was treated super well in Philly – and by the Clippers for one day. I can’t complain. Everything has been A-one.” Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years LOS ANGELES — He doesn’t have Instagram, and he hasn’t tweeted in months.For Mike Muscala, withdrawing from social media is probably a blessing.Since he joined the Lakers in February just before the trade deadline, the deal that brought the 27-year-old in exchange for young, promising center Ivica Zubac has been hammered. He was acquired to space the floor and ideally help spark a playoff run, but as both those ambitions fell off, Muscala has become a target of, and ammunition for, withering criticism.So yes: A social media blackout is useful.