Tomorrow, May 16th, is officially the final day of the NBA regular season. All 30 teams would be in action and with a lot of playoff seeds yet to be finalized, we are in for a thrilling finish to the season.
With the introduction of the play-in tournament this season, teams who are seeded 7th-10th all have to fight their way to get the last two spots in the playoffs.
The defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, are currently in the 7th seed and at risk of falling out of the top 6 guaranteed playoff spots. This means LeBron and the Lakers might have to earn their playoff spot through the said play-in tournament.
But all hope is not lost as the Lakers could still grab the 6th seed from the Portland Trailblazers. It all comes down to the team’s final games tomorrow.
Following their win earlier against the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers now have a 41-30 record, which would tie them with Portland for the 6th seed in the West. But because the Blazers beat the Lakers last week, they have the tiebreaker and would get the higher seed in case of a tie. Therefore a tie would land the Lakers in the 7th seed and into the play-in tournament.
So for the Purple & Gold to get the 6th seed, they would have to win their last game and end with a 42-30 record. While the Blazers need to lose their final matchup to finish with a 41-31 record. A win for the Blazers automatically gives them the 6th seed regardless of the Lakers’ record.
Good news for the Lakers is that their stars are all back and looking healthy with LeBron, AD, and Dennis Schröder all returning to the lineup just in time. The Lakers also have much needed momentum as they have won four straight and are looking like the championship favorites they are expected to be.
The Lakers would be closing out their season tomorrow night against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have had their share of injuries, and are officially out of the playoffs. So the Lakers should be primed to win their final game.
On the other hand, Damian Lillard and Portland have more of a challenge in their season ender. The Blazers are going against the red hot Denver Nuggets, who are currently 3rd in the West and are still fighting for playoff seeding. If Denver wins, they officially lock in the 3rd seed and the Los Angeles Clippers would finish as the 4th seed. So you can bet Nikola Jokic would put his MVP form on display for the Nuggets.
Tomorrow’s game around the league will surely be exciting as so many playoff seeds may still shift. Will we see the Lakers in the play-in tournament or will they get the 6th seed? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Featured Image: nba.com