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Western Conference Standings Watch: Lakers clinch play-in spot

The Lakers won their fourth straight game on Tuesday, clinching a spot in the play-in game in the process. But their sights are set higher than that right now.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

It slid under the radar on Tuesday to some extent, but the Lakers clinched a spot in the play-in game with their victory over the Jazz. The reason it gained so little fanfare, though, was mainly due to the fact that the Lakers have moved past focusing on the play-in game with sights set on avoiding it entirely.

Wednesday’s contest against the Clippers has been circled on the calendar for at least the last week with the implications of that meeting being significant. If the Lakers want to avoid the play-in game, a win on Wednesday is almost certainly a necessity.

With the Lakers win over Utah, not only did they clinch a spot in the play-in, they also can finish no lower than ninth. The Thunder currently have the tenth seed, and if the Lakers lost all four remaining games, they would still finish tied with them, but they have the tiebreaker.

With that in mind, here are the standings heading into Wednesday’s games.

Wednesday’s Game to Watch

Grizzlies at Pelicans - There is only one game that matters on Wednesday. No matter what happens in either the Lakers or Pelicans game, the Lakers will still be ahead of them in the standings.

Now, it may be by only the tiebreaker at the end of the night, but the Lakers won’t be lower than seventh when the final buzzer sounds. A win paired with a Pelicans loss, though, would mean the Lakers are two games ahead with three games to go and hold the tiebreaker.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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