LeBron James' heroics has Lakers predicted for eight-seed after shocking turn

Everything broke right for the Lakers heading into the final day of the regular season.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have disappointed this season. They planned on contending for a championship to start the year, but have never reached that level. LA is locked into the Play-In Tournament, and things looked bleak after their loss to the Warriors to begin the final week of the regular season. Little went right until everything came together on Friday night.

Things were looking dicey to begin the evening. The Lakers trailed the Grizzlies, who had 13 players ruled out and only eight active players. There was no Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, or Jaren Jackson Jr. for Memphis. GG Jackson was their leading scorer, and it took LeBron James putting the team on his back to win. He scored their final six and 37 on the evening to ensure the Lakers victory. Without it, LA would have certainly finished tenth and needed two straight wins in the play-in to qualify for the playoffs.

Fans were fretting after the lackluster performance, but they buckled down when had to. The win gave the Lakers a chance at moving up in the standings and everything broke right. Here is a look at what helped LA and what happens next.

Lakers favorites to get eighth seed and important Play-In Tournament edge

The Lakers were forced to scoreboard-watch after their game. They entered the night in a three-way tie for eighth with the Kings and Warriors. Los Angeles had virtually zero chance of catching the Suns for seventh, but the franchise wants to be in the seven versus eight contest and give themselves multiple chances to make the playoffs.

First, the Warriors lost to the Pelicans at the Chase Center. Stephen Curry did his best to lead a fourth-quarter comeback, but New Orleans held on for a massive win. The Pels control their destiny in finishing sixth and grabbing the final guaranteed playoff berth. It was followed by the Kings losing to the Suns, which put the Lakers into eighth with a full-game edge on Sacramento and Golden State.

Things will be decided on the final day of the regular season. The Pelicans could fall into the Play-In Tournament if they lose, so expect Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram to be ready to go with so much on the line. It is a must-win for both teams. Massive changes will be coming if LA fails to reach the playoffs. Losing on Sunday could be the first step in that becoming reality.

The Kings and Warriors will be heavy favorites during the final day of the regular season. LeBron James and company must take care of business in New Orleans. If they win, Los Angeles will be in the top eight and get a chance to be the seventh seed.

The Nuggets dropped their game to the Spurs on Friday, which likely pushes them back to the third seed. LA will likely avoid them in the first round, but getting on the other side of the bracket could set the Lakers up to make another deep playoff run. They will be scoreboard watching again.

Everything went the Los Angeles Lakers way on April 12, but the team needs that luck to continue to stay in eighth and avoid the dreaded nine versus ten showdown. LeBron James will put his cape on, but will that be enough to defeat the Pelicans? Stay tuned to find out.