The Los Angeles Lakers have two games left in their regular-season schedule, and both are must-win games if they want to keep alive their hopes of finishing sixth in the Western Conference and skipping the play-in tournament.
They will face the Phoenix Suns at home on Friday night, and at first glance, it may seem like a very difficult contest, given the Suns’ star-studded starting lineup and their seven-game winning streak.
However, L.A. will be getting a very big break.
With the fourth seed wrapped up, Phoenix decided to sit its four best players: Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton (h/t Lakers Daily).
Durant (ankle management), Booker (rest), Paul (rest), Ayton (rest) have all been officially ruled out for Suns vs. Lakers with Phoenix clinching No. 4 seed on Thursday night. https://t.co/C66J64bnq7
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 7, 2023
For the Lakers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are listed as questionable, as is guard Dennis Schroder, who is reportedly dealing with neck spasms.
Injury update: Dennis Schröder is questionable for tonight's game against Phoenix due to neck spasms.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 8, 2023
If L.A. wins on Friday and again on Sunday versus the Utah Jazz, it would give itself a pathway to still finish sixth in the West, despite a slew of close losses and key injuries.