Lakers to face potential playoff opponents
Over the next seven days, the Lakers will face three teams that could possibly be playoff opponents.
One of those teams is the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers’ opponent Sunday at Staples Center.
But if the playoffs started today, the top-seeded Lakers would face the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs; the Lakers host the Trail Blazers April 11.
The Denver Nuggets are another team the Lakers could face in the playoffs. They meet Thursday in Denver.
“San Antonio and Portland loom as highly potential first-round” playoff opponents, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “And of course Denver has been in our playoff situation the last two years. So these are important games for us. We really want to go in and play them and play hard — maybe not show our whole hand, but still have that kind of game that we want to play.”
The Lakers have six regular-season games left.
The goal is to win as many games as possible so they have momentum going into the playoffs.
“Obviously it’s a mental focus, a mind-set you have to play with every single night,” Pau Gasol said. “Then the results will help that momentum. So if we’re able to finish these six games off on a high note, feeling good about what we’re doing and how things are going, I think it’ll be a plus for the playoffs.”
It’s been two months since Luke Walton has played in a game for the Lakers because of a pinched nerve in his back, but he plans on playing Sunday against the Spurs.
Walton said his back was a “little sore” after practice Saturday, but it was “nothing too bad” that might keep him out any longer.
“Hopefully tomorrow is still the day,” Walton said.
Andrew Bynum, out with a strained left Achilles’ tendon, was examined by Lakers team physician Steve Lombardo on Friday night. Bynum is to have an MRI either Monday or Tuesday.