If the NBA were to end its regular season on Monday afternoon (it’s a thing now because of COVID-19 protocols), then the defending Lakers champion would be the sixth seed in the West for the playoffs. playoffs 2021.
But the league is moving forward and the last two weeks are ready for now. LA may find it difficult to hold this place as a result.
LeBron James returns from a sprained ankle and the team is relearning to play with him and Anthony Davis. The Lakers lost 121-114 to the Raptors at home on Sunday night to fall to 0-2 since James’ return, and they will host the Nuggets on Monday.
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They are dangerously close to falling in a 7-8 game in the NBA play-in tournament. LA (36-28) is tied with the Trail Blazers for sixth place and the teams meet on Friday in Portland. The winner will win the tiebreaker face to face. The Lakers hold the tiebreaker for the time being with a better conference record.
James told reporters on Sunday that it doesn’t matter where the Lakers are ranked if he’s not at least close to full strength for the playoffs, but he’s not thrilled there are any play-offs. in general.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if I’m not 100 percent, almost 100 percent, no matter where we land. It’s my state of mind,” he said. -he declares. “If it happens that we end up sixth or fifth or whatever, or if we end up in the playoffs, whatever … The thing is – whoever found that – has to be fired, but little matter. “
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was talking about a play-in tournament in 2019 and team owners were reviewing proposals as early as 2018. James was against the idea of a play-in when it was launched for the first time.
He also suggested in March 2020, at the start of the NBA’s coronavirus hiatus, that teams fighting for last place in the West should play a round robin to decide. The league finally held an 8-9 game in the Orlando bubble last summer. The Blazers beat the Grizzlies in that game, then lost to the Lakers in five games in the first round.
Now, James’ team may have to find their way into this year’s playoffs in a similar format. You can understand why he would want someone to lose their job because of it.