The 50 games the Lakers spent being unserious to start this season now have them in a situation where they hardly control their own fate when it comes to the playoffs. The result is going to mean lots of scoreboard-watching and rooting for things out of their control, including on Friday when the Thunder play the Suns.
The new-look Suns — who won’t be looking new on Friday, actually — open up their second half of the season against a Thunder team that opens with a not-so-forgiving back-to-back. A trip to Utah for Oklahoma City is a win-win scenario for the Lakers regardless of the result with both teams positioned above the Lakers.
But Friday, it’s much more clear who Lakers fans should be rooting for, even if it’ll be painful. The Lakers need the Thunder to lose games and, as much as Phoenix has become a frustrating thorn in the Lakers side, LA faithful should be rooting for them to pick up the win.
The Suns will not have Kevin Durant for the game with his debut still on hold. Even still, according to our friends at DraftKings, the Suns are an 8-point favorite for the contest. It’s likely due to the fact that the game is at home with Oklahoma City on the second night of a back-to-back but also indicative of the fact that the Suns are simply a really good team.
The Thunder have been a fun team to watch that plays hard every night, but with the focus now starting to turn to the postseason and every other team upping the intensity, will OKC continue to have that advantage? Friday should start to offer a fascinating first look at whether the Thunder continue to be up to the task which, to their credit, they have been every step of the way this season.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude, and if you want to hang out and chat about non-Lakers games as you scoreboard watch, make sure to check out BeautifulLakes’ weekly game threads.