Lakers on the outside looking into play-in after loss to Knicks as margin for error continues to shrink

The Los Angeles Lakers were certainly within reach of snatching a win from the New York Knicks on Sunday night as D’Angelo Russell attempted to lead his team to victory with 33 points on an efficient 13-of-19 from the field. Anthony Davis put down a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to match the Knicks’ offensive firepower, which also included RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, who had 63 points combined.

In the end, New York clinched a 112-108 win on the second night of a consecutive game to end a three-game losing streak. The win draws the Knicks into the victory column for fifth place in the East even with the Brooklyn Nets, but for the Lakers, the loss is a costly one.

The Lakers’ loss slipped them back to 11th place in the Western Conference, a grim reality for how quickly Southwestern teams can go these days. Technically, the Lakers are in a four-way tie for 9th place, where they got in the night before losing to the Knicks. But due to the league’s groundbreaking rules, which include things like division records and head-to-head games, LA sits behind the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A win would have put the Lakers level with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks in 7th place. But one night Davis was performing, he said, “abominable‘ the Lakers find themselves on shaky ground again as they attempt to secure a postseason berth.

But in a Western Conference where LA is just two games behind the No. 6 Golden State Warriors, having a short memory after losses like Sunday night’s is important. While the loss digs a small hole for the Lakers, their next matchup on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans will play a key role in how the season-ending standings get rocked. LA currently leads the season series 2-1 against New Orleans, and a win on Tuesday would seal the tiebreak for the Lakers. This will come in handy when these two teams end up with the same record and are fighting for one of the last play-in spots.

In fact, some of LA’s remaining games will have a big impact on the rankings. Three days later, after that Pelicans game, the Lakers take on the Mavericks, who are just a game ahead of them in the west. Other matchups against Thunder, Timberwolves and Jazz (twice) will directly impact where the Lakers end up.

Though Sunday’s loss is a hard pill to swallow, especially with the Lakers within two points with 20 seconds remaining, there are still many games on the schedule to gain ground. It won’t be easy, especially with LeBron James still sidelined, but LA have already had impressive wins in James’ absence. If the Lakers manage to string together some wins down the line, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them with one of the higher spots in the play-in, or maybe even avoid it altogether and snag that No. 6 spot. Lakers on the outside looking into play-in after loss to Knicks as margin for error continues to shrink

Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chris Estrada joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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