Jared Dudley accuses teams of tanking to avoid the Lakers in the playoffs

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes that teams were ducking the Lakers by losing in the final days of the season.

While Dudley didn’t name any teams, it is obvious who he was referring to when claiming teams didn’t want to face the Lakers early in the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Clippers rested players and lost back-to-back games to the lowly Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder to end the 2020-21 season.

With the losses, the Clippers received the No. 4 seed and likely will avoid the Lakers until the Western Conference Finals.

If the Lakers win their play-in game against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, they will receive the No. 7 seed in the West.

The Denver Nuggets also seemingly tried to avoid the Lakers, as Denver rested players down the stretch of its loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. If the Clippers had won, Denver would have fallen to the No. 4 seed, but the plan did not work.

Now, Denver could potentially play the Lakers in the second round.

It’s hard to blame teams for not wanting to play the defending champs, especially now that both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back in the lineup.

Los Angeles will have to get through the play-in tournament first, but Dudley and his teammates are already aware teams in the West want to avoid them in the playoffs.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.