Kings give Lakers a glimmer of hope and create potential nightmare scenario

The Lakers could move up in standings after the Kings' loss, but it might backfire.   
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have a close eye on every game right now. They are locked into the Play-In Tournament with just two games left in the regular season, but fighting hard for position. The frachises are sorted, but seeding is still up for grabs and is a massive factor.

LA hopes to get up to eighth to avoid having to win two straight in the play-in before advancing as the eighth-seed to likely face the defending champion Nuggets. Seven battles eight with the winner advancing to the playoffs as the seventh seed. The Lakers need to get there to have any chance of making a deep run.

The Sacramento Kings offered LeBron James and company a glimmer of hope on Thursday night when they lost to the Pelicans 135-123 on their home floor. They are banged up and have dropped four of their last five. The Kings opened a door for the Lakers but created a nightmare scenario in the process.

Lakers could move up but may face the Kings in the Play-In Tournament

Los Angeles, Golden State, and Sacramento sit 45-35 with two games remaining in the regular season. The Kings hold the tiebreaker and are currently eight. LeBron’s team is tenth and would have to win two road games to make the playoffs. It is a massive ask, but a challenge LBJ and A will take on.

Sacramento’s loss on Thursday night gave Lakers faithful some hope. LA must win their final games and needs two of these three events to happen . The Suns must lose their final two contests, the Kings need to drop one of their last two, and the Warriors must lose one more game.

Phoenix plays Sacramento and Minnesota. Both teams are pushing for seeding and could top the inconsistent Suns. The Pelicans could defeat Golden State. If that happens, the Lakers should root for Phoenix to defeat Sacramento. That puts them in eighth if Los Angeles wins over the Grizzlies and Pelicans in their final two games.

If the Lakers remain in the nine versus ten game, they do not want to face the Kings. Sacramento has won five straight against LA and eight of their last nine. The Lakers have no answers for Domantas Sabonis, and it is not the matchup they desire in a one-off contest.

The nightmare scenario is it happening in nine versus ten. The Lakers would still have to defeat Phoenix or Golden State to reach the playoffs after upsetting the Kings. Every game has massive implications. They will be ready, but LA might not have enough juice to even get out of the Play-In Tournament this year.

There will be no easy victories in the Western Conference postseason. The team in tenth is ten games above .500. The Lakers still have hope. It will be whoever gets hot and makes the proper adjustments. Los Angeles did it last year. They reached the conference finals and hope to return. The Lakers are a matchup-dependent team, and things are not looking favorable any way fans slice them.