We discussed yesterday how the Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to get the No. 6 seed if the Golden State Warriors lost their last two games, the Houston Rockets lost to the Phoenix Suns, and the Lakers defeated the Rockets.
After last night’s games, the Lakers can no longer get the 6th seed because the Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs at home. However, because of the Rockets loss to the Suns, a simple formula will help the Lakers land the 7th seed.
The Lakers will clinch the 7th seed Wednesday night if they defeat the Houston Rockets at home.
If the Lakers win, both teams will be tied in the standings at 45-37. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. The teams split their four games together so the next tiebreaker will be in effect, which is conference record.
Conference Records (assuming LAL beats HOU Wednesday):
So there it is. The Lakers control their own destiny for the No. 7 seed. A win and they play San Antonio in the first round, which is a much more favorable matchup than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
All that said, the Lakers haven’t even clinched a playoff berth yet. With a loss to Houston and a Utah win, the Lakers miss out of the playoffs because Utah had a better head-to-head record than the Lakers (2-1). As a result, the Jazz will win the tiebreaker.
If both the Jazz and Lakers lose, the Lakers will stay in the 8th seed and play the Thunder in the first round.
So to summarize:
LAL finishes 7th with win over HOU and plays SA in first round.
LAL finishes 8th with loss and UTAH loss and plays OKC in first round.
LAL misses playoffs with loss and UTAH win.
Enjoy the last day of the regular season, folks!