(My latest over at Silver Screen & Roll)
In Major League Baseball, it’s not uncommon for the season to come down to the last game of the season. After a 162 game marathon, divisions somehow have a way of allowing for two teams to tie going into the last days of September. Now, with the recent advent of a one-game Wild Card showdown with the postseason on the line, there’s a guaranteed “win and in” situation every single year. Thanks to a truckload of injuries, an early season coach axing, chemistry issues and zero breaks, the Los Angeles Lakers face a similar situation: one day with everything on the line.
With so many moving parts, let’s break it down piece by piece:
If the Lakers win: They’ll qualify for the postseason as the 7th seed and a first round matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are locked in as the 2-seed no matter if they win or lose tonight against Minnesota. Houston has clinched a playoff spot already, so if the Lakers beat them, they’ll finish as the 8th seed and face the 1-seed Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if the Utah Jazz win tonight, a LA victory sends them fishing.
If the Lakers lose AND the Utah Jazz win: The Lakers do not qualify for the postseason, while the Jazz will be the 8th seed. Houston will finish with the 7th seed. Everyone cries in Southern California.
If the Lakers lose AND the Utah Jazz lose: The Lakers finish as the 8th seed will travel to Oklahoma City this weekend. The Rockets will be the 7th seed. No matter who else wins or loses, a Jazz loss would put LA in the playoffs.
If the Rockets win AND the Golden State Warriors lose: The Rockets finish as the 6th seed and avoid both the Spurs and Thunder. The Denver Nuggets are no treat, but certainly a more appetizing match up than facing the first two seeds. The Warriors would be the 7th seed and IF the Utah Jazz were to lose on top of this, the Lakers would be the 8th seed.