April 12, 2024

Lakers chances to make playoffs: play-in game tiebreakers, Western Conference standings and remaining schedule

Included in the breakdown of Lakers playoff chances:


Sports fans have now been conditioned to never count out LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers. No matter how disappointing their seasonal campaign is, this duo always seems to lead LA back to competitiveness when it matters.

But no trend lasts forever, and the Western Conference is as charged as ever this season. Could Bron’s age-39 season be the year he finally disappears from the make playoff futures market?

MORE: LeBron, MJ highlight oldest players to score 40+ points

It’s not an easy “yes” or “no” question – hence LA’s -125 on BetMGM to make the playoffs and +105 to miss them. There are plenty of factors to consider, including the Lakers’ remaining schedule, the current standings of the Western Conference, NBA Play-In Tournament tiebreakers and injuries.

Let’s weigh all the variables and assess the Lakers’ BetMGM odds of making or missing the 2024 NBA Playoffs.


Lakers chances to make playoffs: remaining schedule

The Lakers have made the playoffs as a seven seed via the NBA Play-In Tournament in two of the past three postseasons.

In 2021, they defeated the Warriors before falling to the Suns in the first round.

Last year they defeated the Wolves in the 7-8 Play-In Game and then reached the Western Conference finals before bowing out to the eventual champion Nuggets.

Can LA reach the Playoffs for the third time in four years and make two improbable postseason runs in a row? Like we said, anything is possible with King James. The Lakers are already in ninth place with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Let’s analyze LA’s remaining schedule for the 2023-2024 season.

Date Match up On.
File
April 2 @Raptors 23-51
April 3rd @ Wizards 14-61
6 April vs. Cavaliers 45-30
April 7 vs wolves 51-23
April 9 vs warriors 40-34
12 April @Grizzlies 24-50
April 14 @Pelicans 45-29

If you’re Bron, AD and Ham, there’s a lot to like. First off, the Lakers’ next three road opponents have a combined winning percentage of .376, and the Pelicans currently have leading scorer Brandon Ingram on the shelf with a knee injury. At worst, Los Angeles would have to finish the season 3-1 on the road.

The three toughest games remaining for LA will take place at Crypto.com Arena, where the Lakers have gone 27-12 this season. That’s a winning percentage of .692, the sixth-best home winning percentage in the NBA.

The Lakers have already beaten the Cavaliers once this season, back in November when Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland were all active as they are now.

LA also defeated the Wolves at home on March 10, and the Lakers have defeated the Warriors in eight of their past twelve meetings dating back to February 2023. It’s fair to project Bron, AD and company to win two of these three home games . games and finish the regular season 5-2 (they have already won eight of the past eleven).

That would put the Lakers’ final record for the 2023-2024 regular season at 47-35, which could be enough to move LA up to the seventh or eighth seed. Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter are both expected to miss the remainder of the regular season for the Kings, who have a tough schedule for the remainder of the season, including six playoff teams.

In fact, the seventh-seeded Suns have the toughest schedule, according to Tankathon, with all eight of Phoenix’s remaining games coming against teams with winning records. In case you’re wondering, the Lakers have the sixth-easiest remaining schedule at Tankathon.

MORE: What LeBron James said about his status for the rest of the NBA season

Lakers Chances to Make Playoffs: Play-In Tiebreakers

Of course, things get tight towards the end of the season, when the conferences are as evenly matched as the West is at the moment. It’s important that we understand the NBA’s tiebreaker rules before placing any future bets on the Lakers to make the playoffs.

Here’s the order of the NBA’s official tiebreaker rules, and how they could affect LA:

  1. Head-to-head record; better record in matches with the tied teams
  2. Division record; better performance in matches against teams in your own division (only if the teams are in the same division)
  3. Conference report; better record in games against teams in its own conference
  4. Winning percentage against playoff teams in his own conference
  5. Winning percentage against playoff teams in the other conference
  6. Points difference in all games

The Lakers are 3-2 against the Suns and 2-2 against the Kings this season, so they would immediately hold the tie against Phoenix, but would have to move into tiebreaker No. 2 against Sacramento.

LA has gone just 7-9 in divisional play, while the Kings have gone 9-6 against Pacific foes. Thus, the Lakers must finish with a better record than Sac-town to have a higher seed in the Play-In.

MORE: Explaining the viral LeBron James ‘You Are My Sunshine’ TikTok meme

Lakers chances to make playoffs: Western Conference standings

At 41-33, the Lakers have the ninth-best record in the Western Conference. They currently lead the Warriors in 10th place by 1.5 games and are 1.5 games behind the Kings in eighth place.

Below is the full Western Conference playoff picture.

Recordings from April 1

Rank Team File GB
1 Thunder 52-22
2 Gold nuggets 52-23 0.5
3 Timber wolves 51-23 1.0
4 Hair clippers 47-27 5.0
5 Outsiders 45-29 7.0
6 Pelicans 45-29 7.0
7 Kings 43-31 9.0
8 Sun tanning 43-31 9.0
9 Lakers 42-33 10.5
10 Warriors 40-34 12.0
Missiles 38-36 14.0

The Lakers’ path from the NBA Play-In Tournament to the sixth seed seems extremely unlikely. The West is collectively on fire, with every team in the top 11 of the conference standings having won at least six of the past 10 games.

The Mavericks have won seven in a row. The Pelicans have gone 26-19 in conference and have dates with Western foes in seven of their remaining eight games. The only way into LA, it seems, is through the Play-In, for the third time in four seasons.

Lakers chances to make playoffs: projection and best bet

With Los Angeles relatively healthy and Miami Heat x-factor point guard Gabe Vincent returning soon in 2023, we’re excited about the Lakers’ chances of reaching the playoffs for the third time since 2021.

BetMGM doesn’t even have LA listed in its Make the Play-In Tournament futures — that’s how oddsmakers view the Lakers in that regard.

Sportsbooks also know that LeBron, AD and company tend to win the close matchups when the pressure is highest. Do you remember the seasonal tournament? Or the first two rounds of the Western Conference Playoffs last season?

Again, gamble against King James and his court of fools at your own risk. We’ll take the solid value with the Lakers -125 to make the playoffs, and we plan to once again join LeBron, AD and company on the right side of history. The next few weeks should be a fun ride.

Best guess: Lakers (-125) to make the playoffs.

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