Perhaps fate is on the Lakers side. A few nights after the Spurs narrowly avoided a loss to the Rockets after a game-tying 3-pointer rolled around the rim and out, San Antonio had the opposite scenario play out on Wednesday night.
At home against the Grizzlies in one of their toughest games remaining on the schedule, the Spurs had a chance to steal a huge victory. But Keldon Johnson blew a layup at the rim in the final seconds, and Memphis held on for a one-point win.
Keldon Johnson was THIS close to giving the Spurs the lead and possibly the win— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 31, 2022
Grizzlies escape, and San Antonio drops back to a half-game behind the Lakers for the 10th seed.pic.twitter.com/qHAUHwdqIm
The loss drops the Spurs to a half-game back of the Lakers into the 11th seed ahead of LA’s game against Utah on Thursday. The two teams have swapped spots back and forth multiple times throughout the last week, creating a play-in race that NBA fans are enjoying.
The third team in that race is the Pelicans, who narrowly avoided making things really interesting on Wednesday as well. Matched up against the severely undermanned Trail Blazers, New Orleans allowed Portland to keep it close throughout before eventually pulling away for a 117-107 win.
The end result of Wednesday’s action as it relates to the play-in race is that the ninth-seeded Pelicans, at 33-43, are 1.5 games up on the 10th-seeded Lakers (31-44), and two games up on the Spurs in the 11th seed (31-45). And L.A. is just a half-game ahead of San Antonio again as they flip one more time.
The Lakers are the only one of these three teams playing on Thursday as they travel to Utah, but will be without LeBron James and likely Anthony Davis while they do so. A loss would drop the Lakers back out of the play-in game, while a win would pull them within a game of the Pelicans ahead of Friday’s contest between the two.