The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday in what is one of the most important remaining games on the schedule for the purple and gold. Los Angeles is looking to secure a chance to extend its season and this game versus the T-Wolves will be huge in that fate.
The Lakers are currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference and are tied with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, the Lakers have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pelicans, who also have an extremely tough remaining schedule.
Minnesota is the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The seventh seed is still in the play-in but it is the T-Wolves that stand between the Lake Show and reaching the NBA Playoffs as a top-six seed.
Lakers-Timberwolves game has big NBA Playoffs implications
The Lakers are currently half a game behind the Timberwolves in the NBA standings and a win in this game would leapfrog them into the seventh seed. Minnesota only has four more games remaining on the schedule following Friday’s game while the Lakers have five games remaining.
Both teams have fairly easy ends to the season. The Timberwolves play the tanking Trail Blazers, the Brooklyn Nets, the tanking San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Lakers play the tanking Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz (twice), the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns.
The purple and gold definitely has the tougher slate with the Clippers and Suns but Minnesota still has two losable games down the stretch. If the Timberwolves go 2-2 in their final two games then the Lakers would just need to go 3-2 in the final five to secure the seventh seed.
This would give Los Angeles home-court advantage in the first play-in game against the Timberwolves. It also would give the Lakers an outside chance of climbing into the sixth seed in the West.
Golden State is only a game ahead of the Timberwolves and 1.5 games ahead of the Lakers. If Los Angeles can get hot and finish 5-1 in the last six then it absolutely is possible to usurp the Warriors. Golden State plays the Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers.
There are three losable games in there for the Warriors. If they were to go 2-3 in their final five then a 5-1 finish for the Lakers would result in the sixth seed. It is not highly likely but it is possible only if LA can beat Minnesota on Friday.
On the contrary, a loss would put LA in trouble. The Pelicans have the same record and the Thunder are only half a game back. Los Angeles probably does not have to worry about falling out of the play-in but being the ninth or tenth seed is a huge disadvantage compared to being a seventh or eighth seed.
It goes without saying but this is a huge game for the Lake Show.