The Lakers can stay in the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference by winning their final two games, though it won’t be easy with the first one being against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on Sunday.
The Thunder beat the Lakers, 102-93, at Staples on March 29. The Lakers have an easier regular-season finale, going to Sacramento on Thursday.
Lakers coach Mike Brown said he isn’t plotting for any particular playoff matchups, though the goal is to keep winning.
“Whoever we play, hey, let’s lace ’em up,” Brown said.
The Lakers fell to just a half-game ahead of the Clippers by losing Friday night in San Antonio, 121-97. The No. 3 seed is most likely to face Memphis in the first round; the Lakers won the season series from the Grizzlies, 2-1, but had better success against both Dallas and Denver.
If the Lakers survive the first round, they will most likely draw San Antonio or Oklahoma City in the second — so they’ll keep tabs on who finishes first and second in the West also.
NOTES Brown said the key to the Lakers’ success in tight games in the final minutes is the same as it was for him Cleveland. “Hey, let’s defend,” is his mantra…San Antonio’s players didn’t put too much stock in their rout of the Lakers on Friday night in Kobe Bryant’s first game back from a shin injury. “He needs a couple of games to get back in his rhythm, said Spurs guard Tony Parker…Andrew Bynum said he prefers to rest this summer instead of trying to play for Team USA, which lost Dwight Howard to back surgery. Bynum has had knee problems in the past and said he needs the rest…G Pau Gasol’s triple-double Wednesday night at Golden State was even more impressive because he pulled it off without recording one turnover. Gasol had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Three of his five career triple-doubles have come without any turnovers…F Devin Ebanks returned to his place outside Brown’s rotation Friday night after starting seven games because of Bryant’s shin injury. Ebanks “played very well,” according to Brown, and has a future in this league because of his length and athleticism.