After a disappointing loss to the New York Knicks that would’ve brought them to .500 for the first time during the 2022-23 season, the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back in a big way to beat the New Orleans Pelicans in a crucial game for Play-In Tournament positioning.
The win against the Pelicans improved the Lakers’ record to 34-35, but more importantly, put them in a three-way tie for the No. 8 seed with the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. However, even after the victory Los Angeles finds itself at No. 10 due to the tiebreaker situation with the Mavericks and Thunder.
While the Lakers have some more ground to make up to solidify their spot, the win over the Pelicans does create some separation in the standings as they now sit a full game ahead of them. L.A. now also owns the regular season tiebreaker against New Orleans, winning out 3-1.
Things seem to be falling right in place for the purple and gold who have the easiest remaining schedule among all 30 teams, not to mention the fact that they have several head-to-head matchups with the teams directly in front of them in the standings.
For example, the game on Friday against the Mavericks is another monumental one that could swing the Play-In Tournament. Although Los Angeles wouldn’t own the tiebreaker if they won against Dallas, it would still narrow the gap and put more pressure on the Mavericks.
With only 13 games remaining in the season, L.A. must play each night with the highest sense of urgency they can muster up. Despite needing other teams to falter down the stretch, it truly feels like the Lakers are in control of their postseason destiny.
Lakers standings update
5. Warriors (35-33)
Upcoming schedule: @ Clippers (March 15), @ Hawks (March 17), @ Grizzlies (March 18)
6. Clippers (36-33)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Warriors (March 15), vs. Magic (March 18), @ Trail Blazers (March 19)
7. Timberwolves (34-34)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Celtics (March 15), @ Bulls (March 17), @ Raptors (March 18)
8. Thunder (33-35)
Upcoming schedule: @ Raptors (March 16), vs. Suns (March 19), @ Clippers (March 21)
9. Mavericks (34-34)
Upcoming schedule: @ Spurs (March 15), @ Lakers (March 17), @ Grizzlies (March 20)
10. Lakers (33-35)
Upcoming schedule: @ Rockets (March 15), vs. Mavericks (March 17) vs. Magic (March 19)
11. Jazz (33-35)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Celtics (March 18), vs. Kings (March 20), vs. Trail Blazers (March 22)
12. Pelicans (33-35)
Upcoming schedule: @ Rockets (March 17), @ Rockets (March 19), vs. Spurs (March 21)
13. Trail Blazers (31-37)
Upcoming schedule: vs. Celtics (March 17), vs. Clippers (March 19), @ Jazz (March 22)
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