The NBA’s In-Season Tournament will begin on Friday, but the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t participating in the first day of festivities.
Lakers’ In-Season Tournament schedule, group and dates
Their first In-Season Tournament game won’t take place until Nov. 10, when they will face off against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on the road as part of their group play (which will be called “West A” and will include the Lakers, Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz).
After taking on the Suns, the Lakers will play the Grizzlies on Nov. 14 and Trail Blazers on Nov. 17 before wrapping up group play against the Jazz on Nov. 21.
If the Lakers finish with the best record in their group — the Western Conference’s group A — then they will move on to the knockout rounds. The knockout rounds include the quarterfinals and semifinals, and those games won’t be played until next month. Quarterfinals games will take place on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, while the two semifinals games will be played on Dec. 7.
After the semifinals, the remaining two teams standing will face off against each other in a championship game on Dec. 9 to decide the winner of the inaugural In-Season Tournament.
It’s still early in the season, but two teams in Los Angeles’ group — the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers — don’t project to be threats to finish with the best record in the group. The Grizzlies own the worst record in the NBA right now at 0-5, and star point guard Ja Morant isn’t close to returning to the team from his suspension.
As for the Trail Blazers, they own a 2-3 record and have actually won their last two games, but the team isn’t built to consistently win games right now after trading Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks and Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics in the offseason.
The Lakers arguably have as good of a chance as any of the five teams in the Western Conference’s group A to finish with the best record in their group. But for as exciting as a deep run in the In-Season Tournament would be for Lakers fans, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company surely want to win the ultimate prize — the NBA title — in June.