The 2022-23 season is officially over and the 2023 Play-In Tournament is set. The Los Angeles Lakers are taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Play-In Tournament with a chance to advance to the NBA Playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
If Los Angeles loses against Minnesota then the team will have one more chance to make the playoffs. The loser of the Lakers-Timberwolves game will play the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder. The winner of that second game will be the eighth seed in the West.
Things are looking great for the purple and gold right now. The team has been red-hot since the trade deadline and finished the season with eight wins in the last 10 games. All that being said, the Lakers probably got the worse of the two possible matchups in the play-in.
Lakers play-in matchup vs Timberwolves should concern fans
While the Lakers are the favorites in this matchup, the T-Wolves are not going to roll over and be an easy matchup for the purple and gold. No game with playoff implications is going to be easy but matchup-wise, this was probably the worst-case scenario for LA.
The Timberwolves match up nicely against the Lakers because of their size. Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, while they have their flaws, give the Timberwolves one of the only frontcourt that can handle the size that LA can throw at teams in the playoffs.
The only saving grace for LA is the fact that Naz Reid is not going to be able to play, which will make it harder for Minnesota to take advantage of the lack of quality frontcourt depth on the Lakers.
And this is without factoring in Anthony Edwards, who is going to be working for switches all night to get favorable matchups on the perimeter. D’Angelo Russell has been really good in LA but he is not someone who fans want defending Edwards in a key possession.
The other matchup that the purple and gold could have had was the New Orleans Pelicans. If the Pelicans would have beaten the Timberwolves on the last day of the season then they would have slotted in as the eighth seed.
That is a much more favorable matchup for the Lakers, who can dominate New Orleans near the rim with the size advantage. It is really hard to envision this Pelicans team beating the Lakers in a playoff situation without Zion Williamson.
Hopefully for Lakers fans, the team won’t have to play the Pelicans in a playoff situation as that would mean that the Timberwolves won on Tuesday. It might not seem like it but that is a very real possibility.