Has the Los Angeles Lakers’ slow start ruined their chances of getting a top 4 seed?

With three MVP-caliber players running the show, the Los Angeles Lakers competed with championship expectations in 2021-22. Yet in its first 25 games, LA looked a long way from the heavyweight favorite that many had expected.

With a 13-12 record, you can at best write off the Lakers as nothing more than a play-in team. But is there still a chance for Purple and Gold to save the season and secure one of the top four spots in the Western Conference playoff time?

Charles Barkley and the TNT crew debated whether the Los Angeles Lakers would finish with a top four seed

Tuesday’s game was one of the Lakers’ best performances of the young season. LA received entries from all three stars on their way to defeating the Boston Celtics 117-102. After the game, TNT’s Inside the NBA crew analyzed the game and, most importantly, where the Lakers would finish by the end of the season.

“I think they’ll easily be in the top 4 seeds”Kenny Smith told his fellow analysts. Smith’s confidence was skeptical of Barkley, who thinks LA is facing a tougher season.

“The Lakers won’t be in the top four,” Barkley clapped back. “I don’t care what anyone says.”

“Let me tell you why they’re going to be four or five,” Shaquille O’Neal explained. “They don’t want seventh or eighth place in the playoffs. … As for the matchup, they don’t want Phoenix or Golden State in the first round. “

“Tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month they’re not even on the same planet as the suns and warriors,” said Barkley, before sipping triumphantly from his cup. At the start of the show, Chuck also guaranteed the Lakers will get through in the play-in round, claiming that they would “will never win six games in a row this year”.

The Los Angeles Lakers showed a complete performance against the Boston Celtics

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<p>If Tuesday was any hint of the future, the Lakers are on the verge of a major breakthrough.</p>
<p>Unlike most of its previous games, LA won thanks to a dominant third quarter, beating Boston at 31:20 after halftime.  At the top was Russell Westbrook, the much maligned Guardian who lost 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter.</p>
<p>Elsewhere, LeBron James led the Lakers with 30 points.  James, who returned from health and safety logs last Thursday, also had a team rating of +18.  Additionally, Anthony Davis had a very solid 17 points and 16 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks and steals.</p>
<p>“There were a lot of things to clean up, but tonight was one of the best 48 minute games we’ve had”James told TNT immediately after the win.  “And we just want to keep doing that when we go to Memphis.”</p>
<p>LA was unable to contain Jayson Tatum, who finished with 34 points on the 13-of-22 shooting.  However, Tatum was the only Celtic to score more than 13 points as the Lakers did a strong job of making it difficult for the other C’s.</p>
<h2 id=A four-seed or better is still within reach for purple and gold

Are the Lakers disappointed with a 13-12 start in what is actually a title-fighting season? Absolutely they are. However, home advantage in the first round of the playoffs is still a big issue for the 2020 NBA champion.

Los Angeles, which arrives on Wednesday, holds sixth place after losing a tiebreaker with the 13-12 Los Angeles Clippers. Still, James and Co. are only 1.5 games behind the four-man Memphis Grizzlies, a team that currently plays without Star Guard Ja Morant. The Utah Jazz are placed in the threesome with a four-game advantage over the Lakers. Conversely, LA is only 2.5 games ahead of the 10 seeded Sacramento Kings, who sit just outside the play-in round.

It must be reiterated, however, that Tuesday was only the 12th game LeBron, AD and Russ played together. James, who has played more than three straight games this season, is the only reason. So if LeBron can stay on the court and develop more chemistry with his two stars, there should be many more games similar to what fans saw against Boston.

Catching the warriors or suns can be an impossible task at this point. However, the Lakers still have plenty of time to prepare for playoff success.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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