April 4th means there is exactly 1 week left of the regular season. Tonight the San Antonio Spurs take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Currently the Spurs are 45-33 and with 3 games remaining after tonight’s matchup which means the 18 year streak of the Spurs winning at least 50 games has come to an end. Not only are they not winning 50 games this season but the Spurs also are not likely to gain the 3 seed in the West unless they can win out and hope that the Trailblazers and Jazz lose at least 2 games each.
Coming back to the Staples Center should haunt the Spurs because the night before they saw their 50 game win streak come to an end after losing to the Clippers 113-110.
Saturdays matchup between the Spurs and the Trailblazers is an important one because the winner will hold the tiebreaker which could be determine who will be the 3rd seed depending on how the Utah Jazz do during the remainder of the season.
The Western Conference Playoff picture is very VERY close. Currently the Blazers are up 3 games to the Spurs and the Spurs are currently tied with the Utah Jazz but the Jazz hold the tiebreaker and are in 4th place. This means the Spurs are currently in 5th with 4 games remaining (including tonight’s matchup). The Thunder are .5 games behind in 6th and the Timberwolves are a game behind in 7th. The remaining games will hold a lot of importance in the West as things could look very different in a week. Also to mention that the Denver Nuggets are in 9th place and are only 2 games behind the Spurs.
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently 33-44 which is the most wins they have had since the 2012-2013 season when they had 45 wins. Injuries currently plague the Lakers who quickly lost momentum as they have won only 2 games since March 14th.
The latest loss for the Lakers came against the Jazz when they allowed Rubio and Donovan to score a combined 56 points.
The Lakers may have lost Lonzo Ball for the remainder of the season due to a left knee bruise. Ball has missed 26 games this season and missing tonight would be his fourth straight game. Lonzo currently is averaging 10.8 PPG, 7.2 APG, and 6.9 RPG.
Another key injury for the Lakers is forward Brandon Ingram, who is in the concussion protocol. Ingram did not travel with the Lakers to Utah when the team took on the Jazz the other night. Ingram received the concussion against the Milwaukee Bucks which was his first game back after being sidelined for 12 games due to a groin injury.
Keys to a Lakers Victory:
Julius Randle needs to ignite the offense early and KCP needs to keep the momentum from last game as he made 5 shots from behind the arc on 9 attempts. If Randle can be physical and pull down rebounds both offensively and defensively and help the Lakers scoring in the paint as well as KCP shooting well from beyond the arc than the Lakers have a chance to defeat the Spurs.
Keys to a Spurs Victory:
The Spurs are known for their ability to pass and they need to do just that. The roster is full of shooters and if they can pass the ball good enough to spread the floor to create opportunities for others they can succeed moving forward. Aldridge needs to continue to lift the Spurs as he has in past games. He will have to help lift the Spurs to finish out the season strong.