After a stirring victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers' magic number to reach the playoffs is down to just one. The Lakers currently hold a 1½-game lead over the Utah Jazz for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
The Jazz visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, and a loss in either of those games would get the Lakers in. If Utah wins both games, Los Angeles will have to beat the Houston Rockets on Wednesday to grab that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Depending on how things play out, the Lakers could still get up to the No. 6 seed because of tiebreakers against both the Rockets and Golden State Warriors. If the Rockets and Warriors both lose their final two games, the Lakers would get the No. 6 seed. This scenario seems rather unlikely because Houston has a game against the Phoenix Suns and Golden State will close the season against the Portland Trail Blazers, but crazier things have happened.
At the top of the conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a one-game lead over the Spurs. There's also a hot battle right below the top two teams, with the Denver Nuggets holding a one-game lead over the Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 3 seed. The Clippers hold the tiebreaker over both teams due to leading the Pacific Division, while the Nuggets hold the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies.
Here are the full West standings:
|Oklahoma City Thunder||80||59-21||.738|
|San Antonio Spurs||80||58-22||.725|
|Los Angeles Clippers||80||54-26||.675|
|Golden State Warriors||80||45-35||.563|
|Los Angeles Lakers||81||44-37||.543|
|Portland Trail Blazers||80||33-47||.413|
|New Orleans Hornets||81||27-54||.333|
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