The Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Play-In Tournament to officially make the NBA Playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles will now face the second seed in the West, the Memphis Grizzlies.
This is not your typical 2-7 matchup as the Lakers and Grizzlies have been two of the best teams in the league since the trade deadline. Los Angeles has been fantastic since overhauling the roster and there is no doubt that Memphis would have rather seen Minnesota in round one.
Grizzlies fans who are not happy with having to play LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the first round are going to be even more unhappy with the first-round playoff schedule. The league released the dates for all of the first-round games and there is some interesting scheduling in the LA-Memphis series.
Those with a keen eye will realize all of the time between games to kickstart the series between the Lakers and Grizzlies. There is a two-day gap between Game 1 and Game 2 and another two-day gap between Game 2 and Game 3.
First-round NBA Playoffs schedule heavily favors the Lakers.
Three of the four series in the Eastern Conference start with this same format as this series with Game 1, 2 and 3 all being separated by two days apiece. However, that is not the case in the Western Conference as this series is the exception.
The only other series in the Western Conference that has back-to-back games with a two-day gap is the Warriors-Kings series and that doesn’t happen until Games 3-5. Meanwhile, the other two series in the Western Conference only have one two-day gap apiece.
Obviously, having this much time off between games to start the series is a benefit for the Lakers. Los Angeles has done a good job of injecting youth into the roster but it is still a team that is led by 38-year-old LeBron James and injury-prone Anthony Davis.
If there is one team in the entire league that benefits from multiple two-day rests in a row it is the Lakers. What makes it interesting is the fact that they were the only team to get this treatment with the playoff schedule.
But hey, Lakers fans are not going to complain. Any advantage that the team can get it will take and this is undoubtedly an advantage. Just be ready to hear other fanbases complaining about this “blatant favoritism”.