Lakers playoff scenarios entering final week of regular season

The Lakers have been on a roll since the trade deadline. LA sits in 7th place in the Western Conference at 40-38. They are a 0.5-game behind the 5th-seed Clippers and 6th-seed Warriors.

With four games remaining, it’s time to look at the playoff scenarios where the Lakers could find themselves.

Records, remaining games, and tiebreakers are all important things to watch in the final week of play.

Western Conference Standings (As of 4/3/22)

  1. Nuggets: 52-26
  2. Grizzlies: 49-29
  3. Kings: 47-31
  4. Suns: 43-35
  5. Clippers: 41-38
  6. Warriors: 41-38
  7. Lakers: 40-38
  8. Pelicans: 40-38
  9. Timberwolves: 39-40
  10. Thunder: 38-41
  11. Mavericks: 37-42
  12. Jazz: 36-42

Eliminated Teams

  1. Trail Blazers: 33-45
  2. Spurs: 20-58
  3. Rockets: 19-60

In the final week, the 4th-12th seed teams are important to look out for. The Lakers have four games remaining, where they will take on the Jazz, Clippers, Suns, and Jazz again. These games are against teams still in the hunt, making them challenging.

With that said, let’s break down the tiebreaker scenarios.

The Lakers hold the tiebreaker over the: Warriors, Pelicans, and Warriors

Other teams that hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers are: Clippers, Timberwolves, and Mavericks

Tiebreaker that’s undecided: Jazz (If the Lakers win both games and finish with a better western conference record, they would hold this tiebreaker)

Now, let’s look at the potential playoff matchups. 

Lakers win out, get 5th seed

If the Lakers win out, they automatically get the 5th seed, which would be an enticing matchup between two title contenders. The Suns are likely going to remain the 4th seed and are a formidable team.

Phoenix acquired Kevin Durant at the deadline, which has made them an elite team. Durant and LeBron James have had showdowns in the Finals before, and a first-round series with them facing off would be very entertaining. The Suns also eliminated the Lakers in the playoffs in 2021. This first-round matchup would be one for the ages.

Lakers get 6th seed

If LA gets the 6th seed, they will likely take on the Kings. Sacramento has had a great season, ending their 16-season playoff drought. They are a team on the rise, led by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Head coach Mike Brown has done a tremendous job of putting this team together and making them a real competitor. LA would have the experience in this series, as James and Davis have championship experience. Most of Sacramento’s roster has never made it to the playoffs.

However, the Kings are still a good team, and this would be an interesting series. This is a better scenario than playing the Suns.

Play-In situations

7th-8th seed game

The winner of the 7th-8th seed game earns the 7th seed in the West and would take on the 2nd seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The 7th seed hosts this game.

9th-10th seed game

The loser of the 7th-8th seed game hosts the winner of the 9th-10th seed game (9th seed hosts that game). The loser of the 7th-8th seed game against the winner of the 9th-10th seed game determines who becomes the 8th seed to take on the 1st seed Nuggets.

As it stands, the Lakers would be the 7th seed, hosting the Pelicans in the first play-in game. LA will look to keep moving up the standings to avoid this situation. The final week of play will determine a lot. If the Lakers move up to 5th, they will have a tough series against the Suns, while moving up to 6th would match them up with the Kings.

LA has been on a roll. James and Davis will look to keep the win streak going and put them in the best position for the playoffs.

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