Update — The Lakers lost to the Suns on Tuesday night and were eliminated from the playoffs. The Spurs clinched a spot in the play-in tournament with a win over the Nuggets and a Los Angeles loss. The Nuggets can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Timberwolves loss as we continue toward the end of the regular season.
The San Antonio Spurs picked up a 116-97 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night and moved the Los Angeles Lakers closer to elimination. With the Spurs win, if the Lakers aren’t able to fend off the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, San Antonio will clinch a spot in the NBA play-in tournament out of the Western Conference. LeBron James is not playing for the Lakers in the most important game of the season due to an ankle injury. The team does have Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook available.
The Lakers were 12.5-point underdogs, per DraftKings Sportsbook at the start of the contest, so they’re expected to lose this game comfortably. The Suns have already clinched the top overall record in the league, but are going for a franchise record in regular-season wins Tuesday. They’re not going to do the Lakers any favors here. The only interest group set to benefit tonight will be Lakers fans, who won’t have to watch this dismal team much longer.
It’s looking like the Spurs will play the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament in the West as the 9-10 game. The winner of that game would play either the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves or Los Angeles Clippers, depending on how the rest of the week goes. There’s an outside shot the T-Wolves jump the Jazz for the 6-seed and make it out of the play-in. Chances are Minnesota will face the Clippers in the 7-8 game.