View more recent related post: Lakers and Rockets will Play for 7th Place in the Season Finale
The Los Angeles Lakers hopes of an NBA championship, as far-fetched as they were, might have been dashed with the season ending injury to Kobe Bryant; but, their season is far from over. Miraculously, the Lakers are still in position to move up in playoff seeding to as high as 6th.
Moving up and out of the 8th position is vital for the Lakers chances to do anything in the playoffs as they would match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round if they remain in 8th. The Lakers would fair much better in a match up against the half court oriented and older San Antonio Spurs who are currently the 2nd seed. The outlook might not be as great in the 6th seed as they could face one of the two teams that have given the Lakers fit all season, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. The Memphis Grizzlies are also in the fight for the 3rd spot and could be a 1st round opponent of the Lakers if they can land the 6th seed.
While the Lakers still have not clinched a spot in the playoffs – that can happen today with a Utah Jazz loss in Minnesota – they are just 2 games back of both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. Unlike with the Utah Jazz who hold the tie breaker over the Lakers, the Lakers hold the tie breaker over the Golden State Warriors as a result of winning the season series 3 to 1. The Rockets currently hold the advantage over the Lakers in their season series at 2-1, but the Lakers will have a chance to tie up that series when they play the Rockets on Wednesday to close out the season. The Lakers would then get tie breaker over the Rockets due to their better record in the conference.
Here are the scenarios that need to play out for the Lakers to jump either or both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the standings:
If the Golden State Warriors lose their last 2 games and the Lakers win their last game on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets at home, the Lakers will jump the Warriors in the standings.
If the Houston Rockets lose tonight against the Phoenix Suns it will set up a Wednesday night battle for seeding against the Los Angeles Lakers to close out the season.
If both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets lose their last 2 games, which mean that the Lakers would have won their last game against the Rockets on Wednesday, the Lakers jump both teams and clinch the 6th seed.
The Lakers Playoff Watch continues tonight. Here are the three games going on tonight that have playoff implications for the Lakers:
Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns – 7pm Pacific Time – Season series: Rockets 2-1 over Suns
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors – 730pm Pacific Time – Season series: Spurs 2-1 over Warriors
Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves – 5pm Pacific Time – Season series: Jazz 3-0 over Wolves