Riding a four-game win streak and coming back home, the Los Angeles Lakers were well-positioned to continue their ascent up the Western Conference standings. Standing in their way was the L.A. Clippers, a team they’ve failed to beat in their last 10 meetings.
The Clippers, who have been desperately trying to stay out of the Play-In Tournament, previously admitted that the game against the Lakers might be the most meaningful game the teams have played. It wasn’t lip service as the Clippers came out with much more energy and had almost no problems dispatching the Lakers.
The purple and gold, coming off an overtime thriller against the Utah Jazz the night before, simply looked tired and didn’t have the legs to keep up with the Clippers, who moved the ball well and ran circles around them. It marked the 11th time the Clippers got the best of the Lakers, though this defeat stings the most as it might’ve regulated the latter to the Play-In.
By virtue of their tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers remain in the seventh seed though there’s still a shot they could fall farther if they don’t win out the next two games. At worst, Los Angeles can finish at No. 9 since they also own the tiebreaker over the Oklahoma City Thunder but that would not be an ideal place to start their postseason journey.
There’s still some hope they can climb to No. 6, though that would require the Golden State Warriors to drop at least one of their two remaining games and for the Lakers to beat the Phoenix Suns and Jazz.
In all likelihood, Los Angeles may end up staying at No. 7 as Phoenix and Utah are essentially locked into their spots. While not the outcome fans wanted, at least the Lakers are still in the thick of things.
Lakers standings update
5. Clippers (42-38)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Trail Blazers (April 8), @ Suns (April 9)
6. Warriors (42-38)
Upcoming schedule: @ Kings (April 7), @ Trail Blazers (April 9)
7. Lakers (41-39)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Suns (April 7), vs. Jazz (April 9)
8. Pelicans (41-39)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Knicks (April 7), @ Timberwolves (April 9)
9. Timberwolves (40-40)
Upcoming schedule: @ Spurs (April 8), vs. Pelicans (April 9)
10. Thunder (38-42)
Upcoming schedule: @ Jazz (April 6), vs. Grizzlies (April 9)
11. Mavericks (38-42)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Bulls (April 7), vs. Spurs (April 9)
12. Jazz (36-43)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Thunder (April 6), vs. Nuggets (April 8) @ Lakers (April 9)
13. Trail Blazers (33-46)
Upcoming schedule: @ Spurs (April 6), vs. Warriors (April 9)
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