Lakers Eight Game Schedule Breakdown
The games have been scheduled!
Following Friday morning’s announcement that the NBA and NBPA finalized their plan for a restart beginning July 30 at Walt Disney World in Florida, the schedules for the seeding games were released in the afternoon.
Here’s what it looks like for the Lakers:
- July 30: Clippers, 6 p.m. Pacific
- Aug. 1: Raptors, 5:30 p.m.
- Aug. 3: Jazz, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 5: Thunder, 3:30 p.m.
- Aug. 6: Rockets, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 8: Pacers, 3 p.m.
- Aug. 10: Nuggets, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 13: Kings, TBD
The first thing to keep in mind: since the Lakers built a 5.5 game lead in the Western Conference with their 49-14 record, they are a very, very strong favorite to secure the No. 1 seed. In fact, even if the No. 2 seeded Clippers were to go undefeated, L.A. would need to go only 3-5 to secure the top seed. Both teams would have 52 wins in that case, but the Lakers would have one fewer loss.
In other words, that removes some pressure for LAL to be at their peak especially in the earlier games. The Lakers will likely have the luxury of looking at these seeding games more as a preseason of sorts to build towards what really matters: Round 1 of the playoffs, which begins on Aug. 17.
Right from the jump, there will be a ton of eyeballs (like ours!) on the Lakers-Clippers matchup that is the second game of an THE-NBA-IS-BACK double header on July 30 on TNT. Now, if the Lakers win, that would almost lock in the No. 1 seed right there, but again, the focus will likely be more on building towards the postseason, trying to smartly ramp up the game load for individual players, and figuring out the rotation amidst potential roster changes.
And so, while Coach Frank Vogel is building his squad towards Round 1, he may have certain staff members paying close attention to L.A.’s potential opponent … which is very much up in the air!
For whoever the No. 1 seed ends up being, this is what to keep in mind:
If you recall, the No. 8 seed at the end of the seeding games will go straight into a 1 vs. 8 matchup IF they have a 4-game lead over the rest of the field. But, if the team that ends up in the No. 9 spot is within four games, there will be a play-in tournament.
In that case, No. 8 would need to beat No. 9 just one time, while No. 9 would have to beat No. 8 twice in a row.
Currently, MEM has a 3.5-game lead on POR, NOP and SAC, a 4-game lead on SAS and a 6-game lead on PHX. The Suns clearly have the longest odds to force a playoff, as they’d have to jump four teams just to get to No. 9, but odds have it that one of the POR/NOP/SAC/SAS foursome will be close enough to the Grizz to at least force a playoff, if not overtake them.
If a play-in is required, it will be on August 15/16, with Round 1, again, starting on the 17th.
Towards that end, a few games to watch:
- Grizzlies vs. Blazers, July 31
- Kings vs. Spurs, July 31
- Spurs vs. Grizzlies, Aug. 2
- Grizzlies vs. Pelicans, Aug. 3
- Pelicans vs. Kings, Aug. 6
- Pelicans vs. Spurs, Aug. 9
- Pelicans vs. Kings, Aug. 11
Interestingly, the Suns don’t play any of the Western teams directly above them in the standings, while the Blazers play only the Grizzlies.
Here’s how the NBA broke down their approach to the schedule:
"The 88 seeding games, which were selected from the remaining 259 regular-season matchups, will count toward the final 2019-20 regular-season standings and regular-season statistics," according to the press release. "In the first step of the selection process for the seeding games, the matchups were chosen chronologically, starting from March 11, except in these instances:
- A matchup featured a non-participating team
- A matchup resulted in either team in the matchup exceeding eight total games
- A matchup prevented any participating team from having eight feasible matchups
"The second step in the selection process was matchup balancing," the release continued. "There were eight instances in which selecting matchups chronologically prevented a matchup that was scheduled to be played two more times in the remainder of the regular season from being included among the seeding games. In those cases, one instance of that matchup was added as a seeding game, and instances of repeat matchups as seeding games were removed where possible."
OK then. We have a month to break everything down further … but isn’t it fun to have actual games on the schedule again?
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