Lakers seeding scenarios: What should fans root for on final day of regular season?

The Lakers have work to do on the final day of the regular season.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers survived a scare from the undermanned Grizzlies on Friday night on the back of LeBron James’ heroics. Things got better for LA as the two teams they were tied with in the standings both lost. The Lakers have disappointed this season, but are a full game clear and control their destiny heading into the final day of the regular season.

The Western Conference has been wild all season, so fittingly there are just two teams locked into their seed with one day left. The Clippers have homecourt against the Mavericks in the four versus five series. It is the third time in five years the two franchises will square off in the playoffs. The other eight teams in the top ten have something to play for on Sunday afternoon.

The Lakers' path to getting in the top eight and avoiding the nine versus ten play-in game is simple, but what else should fans be rooting for as the regular season wraps up? Here is how it all breaks down.

Lakers must win or get a lot of help to stay in 8th

LA is one game clear of the Kings and Warriors for eighth in the Western Conference. It is crucial as the Lakers would have to lose two straight in the Play-In Tournament to be eliminated. If they fall to the nine versus ten showdown, Los Angeles would be forced to win two straight.

The simplest scenario is for the Lakers to win over the Pelicans and secure eighth, but New Orleans needs the victory to avoid the Play-In Tournament. It is the biggest game on Sunday. If the Lakers lose, things get wild.

LeBron James and company would only be eighth if the Warriors and Kings both lost with them. If Sacramento and Golden State win as LA loses, the Lakers would fall to tenth and have to win two straight road games.

The purple and gold should be looking at Sunday’s contest as a must-win playoff game. They may have to defeat the Pelicans again in the Play-In Tournament, so why not grab an early edge?

Lakers fans should root for all 3 top teams to win

There is a three-way tie atop the Western Conference heading into the final day of the regular season. The Nuggets' loss to the Spurs on Friday night dropped them from the top seed. They will only be number one if they win and both the Thunder and Timberwolves lose on Sunday.

The Lakers should be rooting for all three to win. That puts the reigning champions in third and guarantees LA won’t face them in the first round. The scenarios are complex, but the Lakers matchup significantly better against Oklahoma City and Minnesota and may even be favored to pull an upset in the opening round.

Lakers vs. Pelicans will determine multiple playoff seeds 

The Pelicans are one game up on the Suns heading into their final regular season game. If New Orleans defeats LA, they will be sixth and likely face the Nuggets in the opening round. The winner of Lakers versus Pels secures their seed, which should make it a playoff atmosphere in the Big Easy.

If New Orleans loses, they must root for Phoenix to lose to the Timberwolves to avoid the Play-In Tournament. The Lakers should be rooting for Minnesota. Zion Williamson has struggled in marquee games, and the Pelicans lack big-game experience, but LA doesn't want to draw Denver in round one. The Lakers have a massive size edge over Phoenix. Playing Kevin Durant and Devin Booker in the Play-In Tournament is scary, but it is a winnable game for the Lakers.

There is a ton to watch and enjoy during the final day of the regular season. The Los Angeles Lakers must win, so tune in and enjoy.