Here’s why it is imperative the Lakers beat the Thunder today: if they lose, they no longer control their own playoff destiny. The Clippers could win their final three games and win the Pacific, and push the Lakers from a 1st round series against Dallas … to a first-round series against the Grizzlies.
The Lakers are 4-0 against Dallas this season (three losses by a total of 12 points; another was a blowout loss at home).
The Lakers are just 2-1 against Memphis, and one win came in the 10th game of the season, right after the Grizzlies had lost Zach Randolph.
Memphis, now healthy, is a dangerous matchup for LA – they can match the Bynum/Gasol tandem with Marc Gasol/Randolph, have a defensive hound (Tony Allen) for Kobe, and firepower off the bench (OJ Mayo).
Last year, the Grizzlies beat the aging Spurs in the first round. Why couldn’t they take out another old team next month?