Lakers schedule breakdown with realistic playoff scenario

Mar 5, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and forward Anthony Davis (3) talk during the game against the Golden State Warriors at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and forward Anthony Davis (3) talk during the game against the Golden State Warriors at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

If you have been following the Los Angeles Lakers all season (more power to you) you know that it has been one step forward two steps back for the majority of it. Besides the 2-10 start which was pretty much just 10 steps backward, nothing after that has really gone the team’s way.

Whether it has been coaching, the actual play from the players, roster inbalance, or now the ankle injury bug, they just haven’t been able to find that rhythm.

But after a massive win Sunday afternoon on the back of Anthony Davis, this just may be their chance to finally get rolling. If they don’t, well we as fans can kiss this season goodbye. Hopefully that isn’t the case.

Where do the Lakers currently sit in the standings?

As pictured above, Los Angeles is in a four-way tie for the ninth spot in the West with Utah, Portland and New Orleans. They are two games back of Dallas and the Clippers for the seventh spot and only one back in the loss column from LAC. Moving to the out of play-in territory, Minnesota holds the sixth seed with the Lakers 2.5 games out of that position.

Now let’s look at how the rest of this season will hopefully go down.

Lakers schedule: The first stretch (the most important)

  • vs Grizzlies
  • vs Raptors
  • vs Knicks
  • at Pelicans
  • at Rockets
  • vs Mavericks

First, the games the Lakers should win. At Houston, that is probably the only game close to a lock in this stretch because they are one of the teams currently in the sweepstakes for the no. 1 overall pick.

At the end of the day, what have the Lakers done to gain fans’ trust? One game they beat the Warriors with Steph, another night against the T-Wolves they look completely flat for about 36 minutes of basketball.

Outside of Houston, Memphis has proven to be a good team still when Ja Morant sits, going 20-5 last year without him. Toronto has looked much better after acquiring Jakob Poeltl at the deadline (6-3), the Knicks are red hot, and Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have combined for 146 points in their past two games.

The good news, D’Angelo Russell will most likely be back sometime during this stretch. If Russell is still out for the first couple of games, the realistic prediction here is that the Lakers finish this stretch with a 3-3 record. If Russell returns at any point, ideally LA escapes this with a 4-2 record, which would be a massive win.

Lakers schedule: The second stretch (it starts to lighten up)

  • vs Magic
  • vs Suns
  • vs Thunder
  • vs Bulls
  • at Bulls
  • at Timberwolves

If the previous six games aren’t a complete disaster, these next 11 are where LA can really begin to finally separate themselves in the Western Conference. They have the fifth easiest remaining schedule in the league based on their opponents’ records and in this stretch that really begins to show.

Russell should be rounded into form, Schroder will be back in his usual bench spot, and if AD keeps dominating as he has been over his past four (33.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3 blocks), the Lakers should be playing playoff basketball again.

Orlando and Oklahoma City are going to be a problem in a few years, they both are young, exciting, and competitive already, just not there yet. Chicago is 3-8 since the trade deadline and has been one of the most disappointing teams in basketball this year. And Minnesota… well, the Lakers should’ve beaten them in their last matchup.

If no more ankles are rolled (knock on wood) and this team stays whole minus LeBron, realistically, they can come out 5-1. Minnesota and OKC of course are the two most important games during this part of the schedule. And speaking of LeBron, he is expected to be re-evaluated in the middle of this period.

Lakers schedule: third stretch (how high can they climb?)

  • at Rockets
  • at Jazz
  • at Clippers
  • vs Suns
  • vs Jazz

Ideally, say the Lakers go 8-4 in the previous span, that improves the team’s overall record to 39-38. More impressively, it would put them on a 56-win trajectory since the trade deadline. All that just to get to one game above 500 though?

This would actually put the Lakers in a really promising spot with just five games left. The Timberwolves are the sixth seed and again are only two games above even. We are into April here, hypothetically LeBron is back and LA is gaining serious momentum heading into their last handful of games.

The goal is obviously the sixth seed, but anything in the range of 6-8 and the Lakers will have a good chance to make some serious noise out West. There’s still a lot of work ahead, but many in the Lakers’ locker room like AD, Schroder, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt have all brought up at some point how they are determined to play playoff basketball and are confident in this group. This team believes, so we should too.

The Lakers could potentially go 3-2 here with wins over the Jazz (twice) and Rockets and finish with a 42-40 record on the season. Circle your calendars now, though, if you haven’t already; that Clippers game on April 5th could end up being the most important game of the year.

Final Prediction: 42-40, eighth in the Western Conference.

Next. Lakers all-time draft bust starting five. dark

Let’s hope the basketball gods keep the Lakers healthy from here on out.