The Los Angeles Lakers badly needed a win to wipe away the bad taste in their mouths after enduring a brutal loss to the Dallas Mavericks off a game-winning 3 from Maxi Kleber.
It didn’t come easy against an up-and-coming Orlando Magic team, but the Lakers nonetheless prevailed behind a phenomenal performance from Austin Reaves.
Reaves scored a career-high 35 points in the victory and more importantly pushed Los Angeles right back into the Play-In Tournament. The Lakers are now the owners of the No. 10 seed, but are also tied record-wise with the Minnesota Timberwolves at 35-37.
Minnesota currently owns the tiebreaker over L.A., winning both of their regular season matchups. The two teams do face off one more time in the 2022-23 season, marking that a must-win game for the Lakers if they want to keep advancing up the standings.
Utah is also nipping at Los Angeles’ heels as they picked up a surprising victory over the Boston Celtics. At 34-36, the Jazz are a real threat to overtake the Lakers, especially because they also currently own the tiebreaker. However, the two teams face off two more times at the end of the season, making those pivotal matchups.
Los Angeles could inch closer to the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds with a win over the KD-less Phoenix Suns this Wednesday, though that’ll still be a difficult task. The real game to look out for comes later this week against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. Right now, the Thunder are a half-game up on the Lakers so if the latter can win, that would give them the tiebreaker as well as vault them ahead in the Western Conference standings.
Lakers standings update
5. Clippers (38-34)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Thunder (March 21), vs. Thunder (March 23), vs. Pelicans (March 25)
6. Mavericks (36-35)
Upcoming schedule: @ Grizzlies (March 20), vs. Warriors (March 22), vs. Hornets (March 24)
7. Warriors (36-36)
Upcoming schedule: @ Rockets (March 20), @ Mavericks (March 22), vs. 76ers (March 24)
8. Thunder (35-36)
Upcoming schedule: @ Clippers (March 21), @ Clippers (March 23), @ Lakers (March 24)
9. Timberwolves (35-37)
Upcoming schedule: @ Knicks (March 20), vs. Hawks (March 22), @ Warriors (March 26)
10. Lakers (35-37)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Suns (March 22), vs Thunder (March 24), vs. Bulls (March 26)
11. Jazz (34-36)
Upcoming schedule: Kings (March 20), vs. Trail Blazers (March 22), vs. Bucks (March 24)
12. Pelicans (34-37)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Spurs (March 21), vs. Hornets (March 23), @ Clippers (March 25)
13. Trail Blazers (31-40)
Upcoming schedule: @ Jazz (March 22), vs. Bulls (March 24), vs. Thunder (March 26)
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