Lakers’ Anthony Davis (back) insists he will be available for the play-in tournament tonight

Anthony Davis Lakers pic
Anthony Davis Lakers pic

On Sunday, the 2023-24 regular season wrapped up. Playoff matchups are not fully set in both conferences just yet. The play-in tournament still needs to happen this week. What teams will overcome the situation they’re in and earn one of the final two playoff spots in their respective conferences? 

In the Western Conference, the #7 seed New Orleans Pelicans will be hosting the #8 seed Los Angeles Lakers. This is a matchup we just saw on Sunday when the Lakers were on the road to face New Orleans. Los Angeles won 124-108 but their big man Anthony Davis was dealing with some lingering back issues. Despite not playing the entire game, Davis claims that he will be available for the play-in game tonight on TNT at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Barring a setback, expect Anthony Davis to play for the Lakers in the play-in tournament game

For the last two seasons, the historic Lakers franchise has had to fight their way into the postseason. The top six seeds in each conference get an automatic playoff berth. Los Angeles has failed to do that in the 2023 and 2024 playoffs. Last season, the Lakers made the playoffs as the 7th seed and made a run to the NBA Finals. However, they lost in four games to the Denver Nuggets who went on to win the NBA Finals. In 2023-24, the Lakers tried to get one of the one of the top six seeds.

That was not the case for the Lakers who had lingering injuries on the team all season. Despite his injury history in the past, Anthony Davis stayed relatively healthy for the Lakers this season. He played in 73 of their 82 games. In their final game of the regular season, Davis told reporters afterward that his back locked up on him. Davis said that he would have played if it were a must-win game for the Lakers. Los Angeles faces a must-win tonight if they want the 7th seed in the West. The winner of tonight’s play-in tournament is set for a first-round matchup with the defending champs.

Including the 2023 Western Conference Finals, the Lakers have lost their last seven games to the Nuggets. The Lakers were swept in the WCF last season and they lost all three regular-season matchups in 2023-24. Would Los Angeles be better off losing tonight and playing the winner of the #9 vs. #10 game? The loser of the #7 vs. #8 game will play the winner of the #9 vs. #10 for the eighth seed. That team would then have a matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. One of the hottest teams in the league this season. However, they lack playoff experience which could be their biggest flaw in the postseason. We’ll have to wait and see how the play-in tournament shakes out for the final two seeds in the 2024 playoffs.

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