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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Robert Marvi

Lakers aiming for sixth seed so they can play Kings in first round of playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers, through their head coach Darvin Ham, have made it clear they don’t want to settle for a spot in the play-in tournament — they want to make the playoffs outright by finishing at least sixth in the Western Conference.

That will be a tall order with LeBron James possibly out for multiple weeks with a right foot injury he suffered Sunday versus the Dallas Mavericks. But with some of the teams ahead of the Lakers in the standings struggling, not to mention L.A.’s much-improved roster, perhaps it’s still attainable.

In addition to bypassing the play-in tournament, which would give it time to rest, it looks like it wants the sixth seed in the Western Conference in order to give itself a manageable first-round playoff opponent in the form of the Sacramento Kings, at least according to Brian Windhorst.

Via Lakers Daily:

“The reason that Darvin Ham is talking about sixth is that they’re targeting the Sacramento Kings,” Windhorst said. “The Sacramento Kings are in third. I think they’re very likely to finish third. That’s the team that they want in the first round, an inexperienced team. That’s their dream scenario.”

The Kings, who are in third place, are an explosive offensive team; they average a league-high 120.7 points per game. They put up 176 points and 153 points at the end of regulation in a double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

However, they’re young and inexperienced, and they rank 25th in defensive rating.

Los Angeles is 12th in the West and is half a game behind the 10th-place New Orleans Pelicans and 2.5 games behind the sixth-place Mavs.

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