The Los Angeles Lakers’ three-game losing streak, coupled with the San Antonio Spurs winning two straight, clinched the top seed in the Western Conference for San Antonio. It is officially impossible for the Lakers (55-23) to catch the Spurs (60-19) this season, and they’ll have to settle for second.
However, the Lakers can rest comfortably knowing they will have the edge against the Dallas Mavericks should both teams finish with identical records. Winning the Pacific Division gives Los Angeles the tiebreaker over Dallas, which ranks second in its division.
When the postseason begins next weekend, the Lakers will draw whichever team finishes seventh in the West, likely the New Orleans Hornets (currently sixth) or Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers swept the season series from New Orleans, 4-0, winning by an average of nearly 11 points per game. So far, they’ve beaten Portland twice without a loss, though those games were closer than those against New Orleans: a five-point overtime victory and another four-point win. The teams meet for the final time in the regular season Friday night.