Lakers Clinch Playoff Spot, Will Meet Denver

LeBron James of Lakers (Photo by Jevone Moore)

NEW ORLEANS, LA– For the third consecutive year in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers punched their ticket to the Playoffs via the NBA Play-In Tournament. These matchups have featured some of the most exciting moments in recent Lakers history, last night was no exception. As the Purple and Gold survived Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, 110-106.

Now we have a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Finals, the NO. 7 Lakers will meet the reigning NBA champs, the Denver Nuggets. It’s been lopsided in favor of the Nuggets, who have beat LA 8 times in a row. 

First Laker who comes to mind is one D’Angelo Russell. His three point shooting prowess helped the Lakers take an early lead. 

 The Lakers got a crucial 3-pointer down the stretch from D’Angelo Russell, who had 21 points. LeBron James almost recorded a triple double with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, while Anthony Davis had a strong fourth quarter to finish with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

In the loss, Zion Williamson was nothing short of brilliant, scoring 40 points before suffering a hamstring injury. With three minutes left, the contest hanging in the balance knotted at 95-95, Zion angrily stormed off into the locker room for the night. 

The NBA Play-In Tournament was initially met with skepticism, and accusations of greed. However, the excitement and intensity of these games are what every NBA fan wants and craves. 

The Lakers and Pelicans detest one another; remember this was where Anthony Davis was drafted, spending his first six seasons In the NBA in the Big Easy. The Pelicans were savoring the opportunity to send AD to the couch to watch the NBA Playoffs. 

Trailing by 18 points in the second half, the Lakers almost blew another lead, thankfully they advanced. 

Also, Zion versus LeBron was a show in itself. It was his Zion’s first brush with the postseason, and he was dominant. His signature game, it was so promising to watch his game flourish. Only to witness another hobbling leg injury, which has plagued his career since being drafted first overall by Duke. 

This is the player that we all thought would one day become the face of the league. The former No. 1 overall pick finally lived up to the billing. 

It was tragic and heartbreaking, but we live and bleed Purple and Gold in the City of Angels, so bring on the Denver Nuggets. 

They’ve (Nuggets) been extremely dominant on their home floor over the last few years,” said Lebron James, “it’s going to come down to one or two possessions. And we’ll see who executes then.”

The Lakers have gone 21-8 between Feb. 1 and this stretch. Game 1. We get another postseason series featuring stellar bigs in two-time Kia MVP Nikola Jokic going head-to-head against Anthony Davis, as well as other stars such as LeBron James and Jamal Murray.

Game 1 is Saturday night, at Ball Arena in Denver. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 pm, and the game will air on ABC.