The Los Angeles Lakers are starting to see a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Now the question is whether they have the strength to crawl through.
With a chance to avoid the play-in tournament and claim the sixth seed, the defending champion Lakers take on the Indiana Pacers, in a crucial match with playoff implications for both sides.
The Lakers do not control their destiny entirely. They need the Portland Trail Blazers to fumble their remaining game for them to move out of the play-in tournament. Currently slotted as the 7th seed with a 40-30 record, the Lakers will have to sweep their remaining two games and hope that the Blazers lose to the Denver Nuggets in their final assignment.
But first they have to take care of business. And it won’t be easy, because the Pacers still have a lot to play for. Though they are a lock for the play-in tournament, the Pacers still have a chance to finish as the seventh or eighth seed. Doing so will allow them to have a virtual twice-to-beat advantage, as they could still make the playoffs even if they lose their match with their opponent. They would need to beat the loser of the 9th versus 10th seed matchup to advance to the playoffs as the 8th seed.
Both teams have been dealing with injuries all season long, but the Lakers are starting to get back their squad. Though Anthony Davis is still not available, LeBron James has been listed as “questionable,” while guard Dennis Schroeder will make his return to the lineup after clearing COVID-19 protocols. This will be a huge lift for the Lakers, who have thrived over the past two games due to the production of Wesley Matthews and sophomore Talen Horton Tucker.
The Pacers, on the other hand, are still without Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon, and Myles Turner. TJ McConnell scored 23 points in the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks before exiting the game with a sprained thumb.
Can the Pacers avoid sinking to the bottom of the standings? Can the Lakers creep out of the play-in tournament? Find out live at 1AM, Sunday on League Pass.
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