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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

Lakers hoping to face 1 team in first round of playoffs?

Darvin Ham smiling

Nov 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham at a press conference during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have some work to do if they want to qualify for the postseason, but they may be eyeing a specific opponent for the opening round.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham recently said the goal for his team is to not only make the playoffs but secure at least the No. 6 seed. Doing so would mean avoiding the play-in tournament. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, there is more to it than that. The Lakers are apparently hoping to face the Sacramento Kings.

“The reason that Darvin Ham is talking about (the sixth seed) is that they’re targeting the Sacramento Kings,” Windhorst said on “Get Up” Monday morning. “The Sacramento Kings are in third and I think they’re very likely to finish third. That’s the team (the Lakers) want in the first round. They’re an inexperienced team. That’s their dream scenario. If you’re a Laker fan, you’re dreaming of somehow getting to sixth against the Kings because you could end up in a tougher situation if you fall elsewhere on the bracket.”

The Lakers improved to 29-32 with their win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. They are one game behind the 10th-place New Orleans Pelicans and 2.5 games back of the No. 6 seed, which belonged to Dallas as of Monday. It is not inconceivable that L.A. could get hot down the stretch and avoid the play-in tournament, but they need to qualify for the postseason first.

Given the way they have played over the past two years, the Lakers would probably be happy to face anyone in the playoffs. Avoiding the play-in tournament would be a bonus.

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