The Los Angeles Lakers are currently engaged in a tough battle for limited playoff spots in the Western Conference. There is a litany of teams fighting for said playoff spots and at the very worst, the Lakers are looking to at least make the NBA Play-In Tournament.
Los Angeles is currently the ninth seed in the West after losing to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday but that is going to change with just about every single game played. The Lakers are only 1.5 games back from avoiding the play-in altogether as the sixth seed but are only one game ahead of missing the play-in as the 11th seed.
All seven of the Lakers’ final remaining games are extremely important but so are the games being played by the other Western Conference teams competing for a spot in the playoffs. Here is your complete guide on what games you should be watching (and who to root against) on Monday.
Who Lakers fans should root for (and against) in Monday’s NBA games:
1. Indiana Pacers to beat the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have been absolutely terrible since trading for Kyrie Irving as the team has a 5-16 record since the deal. This was a team that some NBA fans thought was a real contender after the trade and instead, that deal already looks like the worst move Dallas could have made.
The Mavericks lost to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday and it originally looked like Luka Docic would not play on Monday after receiving his 16th technical. However, the NBA rescinded the technical, allowing Doncic to play on Monday.
Dallas is the 11th seed in the West and is one game back of the Lakers.
2. Phoenix Suns to defeat Utah Jazz
The Pheonix Suns are a potential playoff opponent for the Lakers but at this point, it is better for LA if the Suns beat the Jazz. There is no chance that the purple and gold are going to catch Phoenix while the Jazz are a threat to make the play-in.
Utah is currently the 12th seed in the West and is half a game behind the Lakers in the standings. Getting that to a full two games would be huge.
3. Sacramento Kings to defeat Minnesota Timberwolves
The Sacramento Kings are pretty much locked into being the third seed in the West and could really help the Lakers potentially climb out of the play-in to get a chance to play them in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Minnesota is currently the seventh seed in the West after beating the Golden State Warriors on Sunday and are one full game ahead of the Lakers. Minnesota is also only half a game behind the Warriors. If LA wants to climb out of the play-in then the team needs less competition for that sixth spot.
4. Portland Trail Blazers to beat New Orleans Pelicans
The Lakers are currently tied in the standings with the New Orleans Pelicans and a Blazers win would make LA the eighth seed in the West. Getting that eighth seed as opposed to the ninth seed is massive as it would give LA two chances to make the NBA Playoffs instead of the team having to win two games in a row.
Portland was in the playoff picture for quite some time but with the team potentially shutting down Damian Lillard, it is clear they are turning their attention toward the 2023 NBA Draft. Portland is 4.5 games back of the 10th seed.
5. Chicago Bulls to beat the Los Angeles Clippers
It is a slim chance but there is a chance that the Clippers could plummet down the standings with Paul George out of action. Los Angeles is only one game ahead of the seventh-seeded Timberwolves and is two games ahead of the purple and gold.
The Clippers don’t have the easiest schedule to finish the year, either. They have to play the Grizzlies twice, Pelicans, Blazers, Lakers and Suns to end the year. If the Clippers lose this game, there is a chance they could finish with a 2-5 record in the team’s final seven games.
That would make the Clippers 41-41 to end the season. The Lakers would have to go 5-2 to usurp them, which is possible.