The Lakers need to win today if they want to avoid the dreaded play-in round.
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are in a predicament right now. At the start of the season, it seemed like they would be locks to end up top three in the Western Conference. For much of the season, it seemed like that was going to play out as planned, however, injuries got the better of the team, and now, the Lakers are fighting for sixth place in the West. In a normal year, 7th would be good enough for the playoffs, although with the play-in system, the Lakers are still in jeopardy of missing out on the postseason.
In order to avoid the play-in round, the Lakers need to beat the New Orleans Pelicans tonight, while the Portland Trail Blazers have to lose to the Denver Nuggets. Based on these matchups, it seems fairly likely that the Lakers can edge their way to a sixth-seed performance. Despite all of this, LeBron does not seem to care where the Lakers end up.
“Let the chips fall where they may. We’re ready to go," LeBron said on the matter. While this is definitely a great sentiment to have, there is no denying that any team in the Lakers position would rather just avoid the play-in altogether.
If the Lakers end up in seventh, they will have to play the Golden State Warriors, and if they lose, they will play the San Antonio Spurs or Memphis Grizzlies in what would prove to be a do-or-die game. Needless to say, tonight is very important for this Lakers team.