The LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors faced each other in a play-in game yesterday night. The game was of immense importance as the winner would finish seventh, and go to the play-offs. However, the team that loses the game has to go and play another round through the play-in procedure.
The play-in tournament is a new procedure, and hopefully an exciting way for the league to determine the eight play-off teams from each conference. A version of the idea was implemented last summer during the restart in the bubble, but this season will be the first time that the whole play-in tournament is used. Earlier, the format was that the top eight teams from each conference (Western and Eastern) would qualify for the play-offs. This format was changed last year, and this is the first time in an entire season that this has been implemented. The top six teams from each conference qualify directly for the play-offs, and the teams finishing seventh to 10th in each conference have to play a small play-in tournament. In this tournament, the seventh and the eighth-placed team face-off, and the ninth and tenth-placed team face off. The winner of the former game qualifies for the play-offs, while the loser of the former game has to play the winner of the last game. So the hopes of teams who have given their everything throughout their 72-game regular season now basically have to rely on two games.
This season, the LA Lakers finished seventh, while the Golden State Warriors finished eighth. This meant that both the teams would face each other in the play-in tournament. It was a very close game, and each team battled it out till the very end. The LA Lakers won the game by the barest of margins beating the Warriors by 3 points. The winner was decided in the last minute by a perfect three-pointer by Lebron James. The game was also being seen as Stephan Curry vs. Lebron James, who lived up to the expectations of the game and made sure that fans have nothing but a spectacle to watch out for.
The Warriors dominated the game for the first three quarters and had a slight lead to protect after each quarter. The Lakers came out all guns blazing in the final quarter and ensured that they pulled out the last punch in a close fight. Lebron James saw the opportunity when nearly under a minute was left. He connected well and scored the final points of the game. The warriors had to give it their all in those 55 seconds to take the game into overtime but failed to do so. According to pundits, the defense that won the game for the Lakers, even though they didn’t look bright throughout the game, the defense ensured that their team was still in the game. This win for them also means they’ll play the first round of play-offs against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. On the other hand, Golden State Warriors have to play on Friday the winner of the other play-in game to qualify for the play-offs.