NBA Playoffs: Lakers, Warriors seem all but locked as Play-In Tournament teams

The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are headed toward a collision course in the Play-In Tournament.
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are headed toward a franchise-altering collision course in the Play-In Tournament.

Heading into this season, there was hope that the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors could climb back into title contention in what seemed to be a very wide-open Western Conference. With the exception of the defending champion Denver Nuggets, it was hard to pinpoint another clear-cut championship contender in the West. Before the season began, the Western Conference landscape seemed ideal for the Warriors and Lakers to work back into championship form.

And after both closed last season trending in the right direction, it wasn't that outlandish of an ideal. However, that hasn't happened at all this season. While both the Warriors and Lakers have had their bright spots during the year, they've been more disappointment than success. And with less than a month before the start of the NBA postseason, there's a growing chance that this year's official playoff field may not feature the Warriors or Lakers.

Can the Lakers or Warriors avoid the Play-In Tournament?

With 13 and 15 games remaining on their regular season schedules, respectively, the Lakers and Warriors are 9th and 10th in the West standings. They're currently three games back of the 7th and 8th seeds and with the way they've played this season, that seems like insurmountable ground to make up.

If the Lakers and Warriors do end up as the 9th and 10th seeds as it appears they will, that means one or none will qualify for the playoffs. The loser of that first Play-In Tournament game between the Lakers and Warriors would be eliminated from playoff contention while the winner would have to win another game against the loser of the 7th and 8th Play-In Tournament game in order to qualify as the 8th seed.

In short, the outlook doesn't look great for the Warriors or Lakers. Especially when you consider that no 10th seed in the short history of the Play-In Tournament has ever qualified for the playoff field.

Two storied franchises, the Lakers and Warriors, that have had anything but a memorable season are likely set to meet in the NBA Play-In Tournament in the Western Conference. The winner will likely get a shot to qualify for the postseason with the loser being sent into the offseason with more questions than answers.

Missing the playoffs entirely would be considered a huge disappointment for both these franchises. However, with the way they've performed this season, it's anything but a surprise.

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