The Lakers regular season is over. They got blasted by the Kings in a game that did not matter, unless you run the winning team’s twitter account. Now, the Lakers wait to see if it will be the Blazers or Grizzlies who prevail from the play-in game to the playoffs.
My money, if I were a betting man, would be on the Blazers. They have the best player, and by a wide margin, in Damian Lillard. They’re also the healthier team — something they’ve not been able to say all season. With Jaren Jackson Jr. out, the Grizzlies are down one of their best players and while they still have a really good young core of players in soon to be rookie of the year Ja Morant, Devin Brooks, and Brandon Clarke that’s not likely to be enough to topple Dame and streaking Blazers.
That said, Portland still has to win a game and after pushing the pedal to the floor for over a month to get to this point at all, there’s no way of knowing how much is left in the tanks of Dame, CJ, and the rest of their veteran crew. Again, they’re my pick to advance — particularly since they only need to win once to do it — but fatigue, both mental and physical, will start to play a part in the results they see on the floor. That’s a topic for later, though.
For now, sit back and enjoy these next few days. The Lakers haven’t played their best ball yet, but I have a feeling we’ll see them getting closer very soon. Especially when they have an opponent locked in and the chess match of how to deal with a team anchored by LeBron and AD become a reality.
The playoffs are almost here and I cannot wait.