The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors Wednesday, May 19 at 10 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. The winner will secure the No. 7 seed to advance to the playoffs to face the No. 2 seeded Suns in a traditional seven-game series. The losing team will have one more opportunity to make the playoffs by taking on the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies matchup on Friday, May 21 for the final Western Conference seed.
The Lakers headed into the final day of the regular season with two playoff scenarios. A Lakers win combined with a Blazers loss would have secured the team a postseason spot as the No. 6 seed. Any other combination meant the Lakers would have to play their way into the postseason.
Fresh off his 46 points against the Grizzlies, Steph Curry taking on LeBron James will be must-see television serving as a nice appetizer to the playoffs which tip-off May 22nd. The Lakers need just one win in either play-in game to snag a spot in the postseason.
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The Lakers Will Face the Warriors in the Play-in Tournament
The Lakers would have gained nearly a week of rest if they were able to secure the No. 6 seed and avoid the play-in matchup. Instead, they have two days before they are back on the court against the Warriors. Heading into their regular-season finale, LeBron James indicated the Lakers were not stressing about the playoff scenarios.
“Let the chips fall where they may,” James said after the Lakers’ win over the Pacers, per Real GM. “As simple as that. We’re ready to go.”
Here is a look at the play-in tournament schedule.
Western Conference Play-in Tournament Matchups
|Wed., May 19||No. 10 Spurs vs. No. 9 Grizzlies||7:30 p.m. ESPN|
|Wed., May 19||No. 8 Warriors vs. No. 7 Lakers||10 p.m. ESPN|
|Fri., May 21||Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Winner||TBD ESPN|
The Lakers Opted to Play LeBron & A.D. in the Season Finale
Much has been made about tanking at the bottom of the standings, but there appeared to be some Western Conference teams playing at less than 100% during the final week of the regular season. The Lakers opted to play both LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the team’s season finale against the Pelicans. Despite some of the top teams in the West doing otherwise, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel noted the team had no plans to play anything other than their optimal lineup in the final week.
“The assistant coaches are doing the work on potential playoff opponents, but for us, obviously we’re monitoring what the matchups could look like, but really controlling what we can control to come out and play a great basketball game today,” Vogel explained prior to the team’s win over the Pacers, per Lakers Nation. “…My opinion is win as many games as you can and let the seeds fall where they may and be unafraid of any matchup. So yeah, I would say I do believe in the basketball gods.”