Lakers vs. Timberwolves Play-In Preview
The Lakers have climbed their way up the standings this season. They started the season 2-10 and were destined for a second consecutive season missing the playoffs.
However, Rob Pelinka made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline to retool the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With the Memphis Grizzlies losing, the Los Angeles Lakers stand alone while having the best record in the Western Conference post trade deadline with 18-9, tied for third highest in the entire NBA. #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/sgdZX1ggHW— 🎗NBA•Fan🎗 (@Klutch_23) April 10, 2023
LA had the best record in the Western Conference after the trade deadline, going 18-9, and finished 43-39 record.
They will now take on the Timberwolves on Tuesday in the Play-In Tournament. The Lakers will have homecourt advantage and are in great shape to win this game and move into the playoffs as the 7th seed and take on the Grizzlies.
The Timberwolves have a ton of turmoil in their organization after their game on Sunday. While Minnesota was able to win the game, center Rudy Gobert threw a punch at forward Kyle Anderson after a verbal argument. Gobert was sent home after that incident, and the organization suspended him for the game against the Lakers.
Oh my Rudy Gobert just threw a punch at his own teammate Kyle Anderson pic.twitter.com/6GP5wwkCqW— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) April 9, 2023
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year would have matched up against Anthony Davis.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Timberwolves also lost their best perimeter defender. Jaden McDaniels fractured his hand after punching a wall at halftime. This ended his season, and he was the best option Minnesota had to defend James.
The Timberwolves will now be operating without their two best defenders on the Lakers' two superstar players.
This gives James and Davis a clear advantage, and they need to be dominant in this game. James looked ready for the playoffs in the win on Sunday, finishing with 36 points, six rebounds, six assists, one block, and one steal. He was also very efficient, shooting 13-25 from the field and 8-14 from three.
James was aggressive from the start of the game as he looked to get ready for the upcoming playoff run.
LeBron James final regular season game of Year 20 tonight:— LeBron Muse (@BronMuse) April 9, 2023
Lakers end their season with a winning record (43-39) after starting the season 2-10. pic.twitter.com/4vuEQzRJbc
The four-time champion and four-time Finals MVP has proven in his career that he takes his game to another level in the postseason. He is in a rhythm, and the Lakers have a legitimate shot at making a run.
It all starts with this play-in game against the Timberwolves. With their two best defenders out, LeBron and AD should take advantage and dominate.
The supporting cast since the trade deadline has been great. D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and Rui Hachimura have all been impactful additions. This season has also seen the rise of Austin Reaves, who has flourished in his second campaign.
The Lakers will look to begin their postseason run Tuesday night at home against the Timberwolves at 7:00 PM.