The Lakers’ goal for the season is to make the playoffs. The team starts off with a 1-0 record and Jordan Clarkson has been leading the way, averaging 22 points per game. What needs to happen for the Lakers to reach their goals?
The “how many games do the lakers need to win to make playoffs 2022” is a question that has been asked before. The answer is that Los Angeles Lakers must win at least 23 more games for them to make the NBA Playoffs in 2022.
Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a catastrophically dismal 2021-22 NBA season, in which they have failed to live up to great preseason expectations and have fallen to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
As unbelievable as it may have appeared coming into the season-opening game against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers no longer had control over their postseason fate in the last week of the season.
With Anthony Davis battling injuries throughout the season, Russell Westbrook struggling to play effective and efficient basketball on both ends of the floor, and LeBron James chasing the scoring title with only 56 games under his belt during his least impactful year in a long time, the Lakers will need some help from another Western Conference team just to get into the play-in tournament and keep their hopes alive for one of the eight postseason spots.
The Los Angeles Lakers are now ranked 11th in the NBA and are in a poor situation.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis looks on after their 129-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
The Lakers simply need to finish with one of the top ten records in the Western Conference — tiebreakers included — to save their season. However, they have an uphill struggle after returning from the Monday break with a 31-47 record, which puts them ahead of just the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets.
Let’s look at the crucial section of the Western standings, omitting the top eight seeds in the conference, which are already established (as top-eight teams, but necessarily in the order in which they’ll finish):
|Seeds Currently Available||W||L||GB|
|9. Pelicans of New Orleans||34||44||28.0|
|San Antonio Spurs (10)||33||45||29.0|
|Los Angeles Lakers (#11)||31||47||31.0|
The Lakers can’t catch their fellow Hollywood-dwellers at No. 8 with just four games left. In reality, none of the teams mentioned above can catch the 39-40 Los Angeles Clippers, which means the club waiting for Kawhi Leonard’s return may rest (a little) on its laurels in the last week.
The Kings, who are now ranked 12th with a 29-50 record, are likewise somewhat unimportant in this discussion. They have a chance to overtake the Lakers for 11th place, but they are mathematically out of play-in contention.
The Pelicans, Spurs, and Lakers are the three teams vying for two slots in the postseason round.
The Los Angeles Lakers are likewise dealing with a tiebreaker issue.
Let’s suppose the Lakers win all four of their remaining games. They’d still be in charge of their own fate, as their subsequent 35-47 record would leave them susceptible to both the Pelicans and the Spurs. Even worse, in the case of a tie with one or both of the opposing companies, they’d be the odd team out.
The Pelicans swept the season series against the Purple and Gold, winning all three games by a combined 39 points on Feb. 27, March 27, and April 1. Even though the season series between LA and San Antonio was split, the latter has the tiebreaker due to a better conference record.
The Lakers would be in danger even if all three teams finished with the same record, since the first significant tiebreaker is the record in all games involving the tied teams:
- The Spurs defeated the Pelicans and the Lakers 5-3.
- The Pelicans defeated the Spurs and the Lakers 4-3.
- Los Angeles Lakers are 2-5 versus the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs.
The Lakers must finish at least a game ahead of either the Pelicans or the Spurs without any remaining head-to-head games, which is a tall order. Even if they go on a four-game winning run to end the season, they’d need the Pelicans to go 0-4 and the Spurs to finish 1-3.
Fans of the Lakers, I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen.
With a defeat and a Spurs victory on Tuesday, the Lakers might be eliminated from postseason contention.
At that moment, the most they could do is end with a score of 34-48. Even if the Spurs lose and end 34-48, they have already secured the tiebreaker owing to their superior conference record (they split 2-2).
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) April 4, 2022
To this far, we’ve avoided properly evaluating the remaining games, but that’s about to change.
According to Tankathon, the Spurs have a terrible remaining schedule, with only the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics having a more challenging schedule. They might easily go 0-4, with games against the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Timberwolves, all playoff contenders.
However, the Pelicans are ranked 13th in remaining schedule strength. The remaining games on their schedule are against the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, and Sacramento Kings, who aren’t very motivated given that they’ve already been eliminated from contention and may be resting important players.
Even a single win puts New Orleans ahead of Los Angeles in the standings. We can effectively eliminate the prospect of passing the bayou-based team.
So, let’s imagine the Spurs lose each of their final four games. In this best-case scenario, the Lakers would still need to finish with a 3-1 record. The issue is that they have the No. 5 strength of schedule and would only have to lose one game against the Phoenix Suns, Warriors, Nuggets, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
What about the other issue? Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have registered a -7.8 net rating, behind only the Thunder (-8.5) and Trail Blazers (-7.8). Anthony Davis is still reintegrating into the lineup, LeBron James has struggled to remain healthy, and the team as a whole has struggled to stay healthy (-19.8).
It’s difficult to rule James out completely until he’s formally eliminated. However, overcoming the Thunder and then two of the Suns, Warriors, and Nuggets, the last two of which are competing for seeding in the top half of the Western Conference, is just too much for a club on a six-game losing run.
It will not take place. Even if it does, getting through the play-in round to secure one of the eight Western Conference seeds would be difficult.
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com and are current as of April 5.
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The “Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs” is an interesting question. The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, but in order for the Lakers to make it, they will need to do the following: Reference: will the lakers make the playoffs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lakers in Playoffs 2022?
Are the Lakers eliminated from playoff contention?
Why were the Lakers eliminated?
A: They did not perform well in the playoffs.
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