USA TODAY Sports’ Mark Medina breaks down why the Lakers need to avoid the NBA play-in tournament.
In the final week of the season, the talk of the Los Angeles Lakers having to get into the postseason via the play-in tournament is all the rage.
But that’s not the only compelling playoff push with seven days left in the NBA’s 2020-21 regular season.
The top seeds aren’t locked just yet, and teams are jockeying for position throughout the standings.
We take a look the scenarios in the Eastern and Western conferences headed into Monday’s games and see who is in solid position, a precarious situation and on the outside looking in while factoring in the tiebreakers that could be the difference between a guaranteed playoff spot and the play-in game format.
The top three seeds
Philadelphia is close to locking up the top seed in the East. The Sixers are three games up on Brooklyn and 3½ ahead of Milwaukee.
The Bucks are trying to catch the Nets for the No. 2 seed, and they own head-to-head…