1. What seed with the Lakers take?
The big story hanging over the final month of the season probably should have been the possibility of falling into the play-in tournament. This year, the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds will have to battle their way into the playoffs with the teams sitting ninth and 10th in the standings.
Every team with championship aspirations wants to avoid those games, which will just add to the grueling nature of the playoffs.
Injuries could have thrown the Lakers into the mix, but they’ve navigated the last month well enough to be well placed in the West. They can thank the Blazers and Mavericks for going 4-6 and 5-5 over their last 10 games, respectively. LA hasn’t faced the kind of pressure from behind they would have if either of those teams had picked up the pace.
The Lakers can look forward to the next slate of games, knowing their healthy squad isn’t in much danger of dropping into one of those play-in spots. They can also start looking up at the Denver Nuggets and wondering if they can make a run at their 2.5-game lead for fourth, especially with Jamal Murray out injured.