The Los Angeles Lakers are lightyears ahead of where they were earlier in the season. Now with the postseason in sight, there’s still some final housekeeping to determine who LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Lakeshow will end up playing after the regular season ends.
Given how the tiebreakers have shaken out, the Lakers are mathematically barred from ending up with the fifth seed in the West. Their dream scenario would be to end up with the sixth seed and face off against the Sacramento Kings, which could arguably be a better spot given that the 4-5 matchup will be against the Kevin Durant-led Phoenix Suns.
Out of the 16 different possible results from the teams competing for spots the 5-9 spots, only three of them results in the Lakers nabbing that sixth seed and the secured playoff spot that comes with it. There are two requisites for that to happen.
Updated Western Conference Playoff and Play-In scenarios through today's games.
Seeds 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RBf48BWeHP
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 9, 2023
The first is that the Lakers must win their matchup against the Utah Jazz. A loss would automatically demote them to the eighth and would have them on the road in a potential play-in matchup.
Even if LA does win, the other, more difficult to obtain requisite is that the Golden State Warriors lose their finale against the Portland Trail Blazers. With Stephen Curry listed as probable for the matchup and the Blazers playing their third-stringers, it’s going to be tough seeing that happen. But greater upsets have been made in the NBA so you never know.
There is only one scenario wherein a Lakers win and Warriors loss doesn’t result in LA getting the sixth seed. If those results combine with a Clippers loss and a Pelicans win, then LeBron James and co. will host the Steph Curry and the Dubs in a play-in rematch from 2021.
Buckle up, folks. The final day is about to get bumpy.