With a dramatic come-from-behind victory in double overtime over Oklahoma City on Sunday, the Lakers trimmed their magic number for clinching the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference to one.
This isn’t the most simple thing of all time, and could change by the day until the season finale on Thursday, so thanks for bearing with us…
If LAL (41-24) wins its final game at Sacramento on Thursday, or if the Clippers (40-24) lose at either Atlanta or New York, the three seed goes to the Purple and Gold, who hold the tiebreaker over the Clips thanks to a 2-1 season series win.
With the win over OKC, the Lakers also clinched – at worst – the No. 4 seed and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Even with a loss at Sacramento and 2-0 finishes for both the Clippers and Grizzlies (39-25), LAL would match a possible 41-25 Memphis record (the Lakers also own the tiebreaker against the Grizz).
In other words:
LAL GET NO. 3 SEED IF…
- They win at Sacramento
- They lose to Sacramento but the Clippers lose at either Atlanta or New York
LAL GET NO. 4 SEED IF…
- They lose at Sacramento
- The Clippers win at both Atlanta and New York
Memphis can still get the No. 4 seed and push the Clippers to No. 5 by winning its final two games with the Clippers losing both of theirs.
RACE FOR NO. 6 SEED
Denver defeated Orlando on Sunday evening to improve to 36-28 on the season, one half game ahead of Dallas (36-29), with two games to play at Oklahoma City and Minnesota. Since the Mavericks own the tiebreaker, they can get the No. 6 seed with a win in their final game at Atlanta and one Nuggets loss. Denver will get the No. 6 seed to face the No. 3 team by going 2-0, or 1-1 should Dallas lose to Atlanta. The Hawks are thus quite important in the Western seedings, as they face both the Clippers and Mavericks to close the season.
SPURS CLOSE TO CLINCHING TOP SEED:
San Antonio (47-16) is now 1.5 games up on Oklahoma City (46-18) with three to play thanks in part to their win over LAL on Friday and LAL’s defeat of OKC on Sunday, and can thus clinch the top seed with a single win (vs. POR, @PHO, @GSW) or a Thunder loss (vs. SAC, vs. DEN).
San Antonio owns the tiebreak over the Thunder, as well, so their claiming the top spot is all but assured.