Will Lakers advance vs Pelicans?

Will Lakers advance vs Pelicans?


Will Lakers advance vs Pelicans?

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The question has arisen about whether the Lakers should throw their play-in game against the Pelicans? The Home-court advantage really isn’t a thing anymore.

NBA teams went 668-562 at home this season — and that winning percentage is the worst home-court mark in league history.

This year’s winning percentage was .5431, barely back of the .5435 percentage set in 2020-21. Teams lost home games by at least 10 points 283 times this season, topping the mark of 272 set two years ago.

The Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals last season largely as a result of a favorable bracket. They were satisfied enough with that result, independent of their sweep at the hands of the Nuggets, that they more or less ran last year's team back. Now they find themselves in nearly the exact same position: a play-in team destined to lose to Denver if they don't lose sooner. The only difference is that James and Davis are a year older.

Critics have suggested that the Lakers intentionally lose their play-in game against the Pelicans on Tuesday. Doing so would put them in a do-or-die (but home) play-in game against the winner of the night's other West matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. Should the Lakers win that game, which would be played Friday night on two days rest, they would face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, a team they went 3-1 against this season. 

The Nuggets would face the Pelicans in the first round and then either the Suns or the Timberwolves in the second. The best-case scenario would be for one of those teams to knock the Nuggets out before a possible Western Conference finals rematch with the Lakers. 

Should the Lakers defeat the New Orleans Pelicans in Tuesday's Western Conference Play-In Tournament game, they would face the defending champs in the first round of the playoffs.

If the Lakers do indeed face the Nuggets in the first round, they will lose that series.