The final day of the 2022-23 season was a wild one as numerous scenarios affected the Play-In Tournament seedings.
Ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers wound up in the No. 7 seed after beating the Utah Jazz and will take on the No. 8 seeded Minnesota Timberwolves who managed to come back against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Los Angeles will face off against Minnesota on Tuesday at home. The game will be aired on TNT and tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT. The winner of the game will play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs while the loser will play a second Play-In Tournament game on Friday against the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder game.
If the Lakers are lucky enough to make the postseason then Game 1 would take place next Sunday.
Entering this Sunday slate, the Lakers had a slight chance to jump to No. 6 with a win over the Jazz and a Golden State Warriors loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers took care of business against the Jazz but were locked into the Play-In Tournament after the Warriors dismantled a tanking Trail Blazers squad. However, the afternoon scoreboard-watching was tense as several teams went back and forth during their respective games.
The most intriguing game came down between the Timberwolves and Pelicans as they battled for the No. 8 seed. The Timberwolves looked completely discombobulated to start the game and things got worse after Rudy Gobert punched Kyle Anderson on the sideline during a dispute. Gobert was shockingly ruled out for the rest of the game and was reportedly sent home.
To make matters worse, Jaden McDaniels was seen punching a wall and was subsequently ruled out as well. Despite the adverse circumstances, Minnesota managed to pull out a come-from-behind victory against New Orleans and set themselves up with a date with Los Angeles.
While there has been no word on Gobert’s status for the Play-In game against the Lakers, reports surfaced that McDaniels suffered a broken hand. That’s a massive boon for Los Angeles, who struggled with McDaniels’ length, so that should help their chances of advancing.
Although things seem to have gone the purple and gold’s way, they still must perform to their ceiling if they hope to beat the Timberwolves and punch their ticket to the postseason.
Final Western Conference standings
1. Nuggets (53-29)
2. Grizzlies (51-31)
3. Kings (48-34)
4. Suns (45-37)
5. Clippers (44-38)
6. Warriors (44-38)
7. Lakers (43-39)
8. Timberwolves (42-40)
9. Pelicans (42-39)
10. Thunder (39-42)
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