The 2023-24 NBA regular season is part of the past now, and it’s time for the most exciting time of the year: the postseason. This week, several teams will be looking to punch a ticket to the playoffs from the Play-In, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

A team that made the Conference Finals in 2023, the purple and gold will have to take on the New Orleans Pelicans to try and keep their aspirations alive. Of course, now they’ll need LeBron James and Anthony Davis more than ever.

The Lakers’ campaign in the regular season left much to be desired, as they were one of the teams predicted to finish higher during the offseason. Either way, this will not be a win or go home game for Darvin Ham’s team.

What happens if the Lakers win

If the Lakers beat the Pelicans on Tuesday, they’ll clinch the seventh seed and therefore qualify for the playoffs. Los Angeles finished 8th in the regular season with a 47-35 record.

LeBron James dribbling the basketball.

LeBron James dribbling the basketball.

New Orleans will play at home as it finished one place above the Lakers with a 49-33 record (tied with the Phoenix Suns, who gained the upper hand in the tiebreaker).

What happens if the Lakers lose

If the Lakers lose to the Pelicans, they’d still have one more chance to make the playoffs. That’s because the loser of the 7-8 game takes on the winner of the 9-10 in the Play-In Tournament.

Therefore, a Pelicans’ win on Tuesday would see LeBron James and company play the Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings on Friday, depending on who emerges victorious in the 9-10 game in the West on Tuesday.

The winner of Friday’s matchup will claim the 8th seed and last ticket to the playoffs, with the loser going home. In all, the Lakers will have up to two chances to finish among the best 8 in the Western Conference.