The Lakers found out a few days early whom they’ll play in the first round of the playoffs: the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Heading into Monday night’s NBA action, San Antonio, Portland and Oklahoma City were positioned in a three-way tie with identical 49-31 records and two games to play, the loser of which would draw L.A.
As it turned out, San Antonio easily beat Minnesota 133-111, while Portland went on a late run at home to defeat Oklahoma City 103-95 and lock the Thunder into the No. 8 seed.
OKC can still finish with the same record as San Antonio and Portland if both of those teams lose and the Thunder win their final contest, but both Portland and San Antonio hold the season tiebreaker against Oklahoma City (both went 3-1 vs. Durant and Co.).
While the Lakers still have two games to play – Tuesday vs. Sacramento and Wednesday at the L.A. Clippers – the only thing that can still change in the playoff picture is a slim chance at the overall No. 2 seed currently owned by the Orlando Magic. Basically, if Orlando loses its final game – at home against Philadelphia (27-54) – and L.A. wins out, they’ll reclaim the second slot and have home court if both teams make the Finals.
In the meantime, we’ll start to take a look ahead to the playoff series against Oklahoma City, a team against which L.A. went 3-1 in the regular season.