By Tamara Latta, Contributing Writer
The Lakers are out of the danger zone after knocking off the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-102 and clinching the seventh seed in the West. Despite a challenging regular season filled with injuries, the Lakers are once again in a position to add another championship to their storied history.
“Can you believe we are going to finish the season over .500,” Lebron James said.
The Lakers finished the regular season with a 42-30 record, earning the seventh seed in the Western Conference. While this may not be the ideal position for a team with championship aspirations, the Lakers have plenty of experience and talent to make a deep playoff run.
Of course, the biggest question mark for the Lakers heading into the playoffs is the health of their star players. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both missed significant time during the regular season with injuries, but they are expected to play every game in the postseason. If they can stay healthy and play at their usual elite level, the Lakers will be a formidable opponent for any team they face.
One of the biggest challenges for the Lakers will be their first-round matchup against the young energetic Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference and feature a dynamic backcourt in Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. The Lakers will need to find a way to slow down the Grizzlies grittiness if they want to advance to the next round.
Assuming they can get past the Grizzlies, the Lakers will likely face the Suns or Clippers in the second round. The Suns had one of the best records in the NBA during the regular season and have one of the deepest rosters in the league. The Clippers own the Lakers beating them in the last eleven matches. The Lakers will need to be firing on all cylinders to beat the Suns but if they can pull off the upset, they will have a clear path to the NBA Finals.
Ultimately, the Lakers’ playoff success will depend on the health and performance of their star players. If LeBron James and Anthony Davis can play at their best, and the rest of the team can step up and provide support, the Lakers have a real chance to win their 18th championship. It won’t be easy, but the Lakers are no strangers to overcoming adversity and rising to the occasion when it matters most.
“I think it’s a work in progress, man. Laker’s coach Darvin Ham said. But thank God that Bron, again I think I said this earlier, he’s the type of player that’s hunting triple-doubles, not 30 shots, you know what I’m saying. Sometimes it comes to that because we may be struggling in other areas offensively and he just has to force his will on the offensive side of the ball. But he’s built his entire playing career on playing the right way. And that’s in him.”