The Los Angeles Lakers have already clinched a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament. That does not guarantee a spot in the NBA Playoffs, however, as the purple and gold would need to be one of two teams to advance via the play-in.
The purple and gold can still climb out of the play-in if things fall their way. The team needs to win both of its remaining games and needs the Golden State Warriors to lose at least one. This would give the teams the same record and Los Angeles owns the tiebreaker.
While the Lakers have the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz remaining, the Warriors have the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers. Realistically speaking, the Lake Show is going to need its bitter Western Conference foe to get the job done against Golden State as the chances of Portland winning are slim to none.
Unfortunately for the purple and gold, it does not look like the Kings are overly concerned with helping in that regard. A contingent of the most important players on the Kings suddenly hit the injury report on Thursday, making it seem as if the team is loading up for rest before the NBA Playoffs.
"Kings are likely punting the game vs Warriors by u/PretendDubs in lakers"
It is more than just the four players on that photo. In addition to De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray, the likes of Malik Monk, Davion Mitchell and Trey Lyles were also added to the injury report.
Update: The Kings did rest most of their prominent players and lost to the Warriors on Friday.
Kings resting players may kill Lakers’ playoff hopes.
Nearly the entire rotation has been added to the Kings’ injury report for Friday and that does not mean that the entire team is going to rest. In reality, some of the players listed as questionable will end up playing in some capacity against the Warriors.
However, it is clear that the Kings are more concerned with getting into the playoffs rested and healthy. And that is absolutely their right to do that. Sacramento has earned the ability to do that by being the third seed in the Western Conference. It stings for the Lakers but it isn’t the wrong thing to do.
Los Angeles still needs to take care of business in the final two games. While a play-in spot is locked, a seventh or eighth seed is not.
Having one of those seeds, instead of a ninth or tenth seed, is massive. LA would only have to win one game in two tries. As a lower seed, they would have to win back-to-back games.