What are Lakers’ NBA Playoff, Play-In Tournament chances? Breaking down LA’s postseason odds, remaining schedule

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When the Lakers used multiple trade assets in order to acquire Russell Westbrook as part of an offseason deal with the Wizards, skeptics wondered if a “Big Three” of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis could bring a championship to Los Angeles. When the front office later filled out the roster with past-their-prime veterans, those skeptics grew even louder.

But even the biggest Lakers doubters couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. Heading down the final stretch of the 2021-22 regular season, Los Angeles is fighting just to secure a spot in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament.

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James-led teams are typically using March and April as ramp-up periods before the championship chase, but this Lakers group still hasn’t found a winning formula through 60-plus games. Could Los Angeles miss out on the NBA Playoffs and Play-In Tournament entirely?

What are the Lakers’ NBA Playoff and Play-In Tournament chances?

As of March 4, the Lakers have a seven percent chance of making the NBA Playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. That’s much lower than other possible Play-In Tournament teams such as the Timberwolves (90 percent), Clippers (74 percent) and Pelicans (25 percent).

They have a 65 percent chance of making the Western Conference Play-In Tournament, according to The Ringer’s Odds Machine. That model views the Spurs (46 percent) as the biggest challenger to take a spot from the Timberwolves, Clippers, Lakers or Pelicans.

NBA standings 2022: Western Conference

(Current as of March 4)

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Suns 50-12
2. Warriors 43-20 7.5
3. Grizzlies 43-21 8
4. Jazz 39-22 10.5
5. Mavericks 38-25 12.5
6. Nuggets 36-26 14
7. Timberwolves* 34-29 16.5
8. Clippers* 34-31 17.5
9. Lakers* 27-35 23
10. Pelicans* 26-36 24
Trail Blazers 25-37 25
Spurs 24-39 26.5
Kings 24-41 27.5
Thunder 20-42 30
Rockets 15-47 35

* NBA Play-In Tournament teams if season ended today

Lakers schedule 2022

The Lakers face the second-toughest remaining schedule of any NBA team, according to Tankathon. Only seven of their final 20 games will be played at home, and they have three-game and four-game road trips in March.

Date Opponent Time (ET) National TV
March 5 vs. Warriors 8:30 p.m. ABC
March 7 at Spurs 8:30 p.m.
March 9 at Rockets 8 p.m.
March 11 vs. Wizards 10:30 p.m. NBA TV
March 13 at Suns 9 p.m. ESPN
March 14 vs. Raptors 10:30 p.m.
March 16 at Timberwolves 8 p.m.
March 18 at Raptors 7:30 p.m.
March 19 at Wizards 8 p.m.
March 21 at Cavaliers 7 p.m.
March 23 vs. 76ers 10 p.m. ESPN
March 27 at Pelicans 7 p.m.
March 29 at Mavericks 7:30 p.m. TNT
March 31 at Jazz 10 p.m. TNT
April 1 vs. Pelicans 10:30 p.m. NBA TV
April 3 vs. Nuggets 3:30 p.m. ABC
April 5 at Suns 10:30 p.m. NBA TV
April 7 at Warriors 10 p.m. TNT
April 8 vs. Thunder 10:30 p.m.
April 10 at Nuggets TBD

How does the NBA Play-In Tournament work?

  • The NBA Play-In Tournament will be held after the conclusion of the 2021-22 regular season and before the start of the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. The teams that finish Nos. 1-6 in the standings of each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots. Teams Nos. 7-10 will enter the Play-In Tournament.
  • Each conference’s Nos. 7 and 8 teams will face off, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The loser will still have one more opportunity to reach the playoffs.
  • Each conference’s Nos. 9 and 10 teams will face off, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the No. 7-vs.-No. 8 game. The loser of the No. 9-vs.-No. 10 game will be eliminated from playoff contention.
  • The loser of the No. 7-vs.-No. 8 game and the winner of the No. 9-vs.-No. 10 game will then play against each other. The winner of that game will be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.
  • Beyond the Play-In Tournament, the 2022 NBA Playoffs will follow the typical format, with full best-of-seven series all the way through the NBA Finals.

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