NBA Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Standings After Lakers Lose to Jazz Without LeBron

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 1, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook looks at the scoreboard during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Los Angeles Lakers are in imminent danger of missing the playoffs following a 122-109 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

L.A.'s fourth straight loss, which came with LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined by injuries, dropped its record to 31-45 and left it outside the top 10 in the Western Conference.

The top six seeds in both conferences earn a direct postseason berth, while seeds Nos. 7 through 10 will take part in a play-in tournament.

Here's a look at the updated standings in the West with less than two weeks left in the regular season:

  1. Phoenix Suns (62-14)
  2. Memphis Grizzlies (54-23, 8.5 GB)
  3. Dallas Mavericks (48-29, 14.5 GB)
  4. Golden State Warriors (48-29, 14.5 GB)
  5. Utah Jazz (46-31, 16.5 GB)
  6. Denver Nuggets (46-31, 16.5 GB)
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves (43-34, 19.5 GB)
  8. Los Angeles Clippers (37-40, 25.5 GB)
  9. New Orleans Pelicans (33-43, 29 GB)
  10. San Antonio Spurs (31-45, 31 GB)
  11. Los Angeles Lakers (31-45, 31 GB)
  12. Sacramento Kings (28-49, 34.5 GB)
  13. Portland Trail Blazers (27-49, 35 GB)
  14. Oklahoma City Thunder (22-54, 40 GB)
  15. Houston Rockets (20-57, 42.5 GB)

And in the East:

  1. Miami Heat (49-28)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (48-28, 0.5 GB)
  3. Boston Celtics (47-30, 2 GB)
  4. Philadelphia 76ers (46-30, 2.5 GB)
  5. Chicago Bulls (45-32, 4 GB)
  6. Toronto Raptors (44-32, 4.5 GB)
  7. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-35, 7 GB)
  8. Brooklyn Nets (40-37, 9 GB)
  9. Charlotte Hornets (40-37, 9 GB)
  10. Atlanta Hawks (40-37, 9 GB)
  11. New York Knicks (34-43, 15 GB)
  12. Washington Wizards (33-43, 15.5 GB)
  13. Indiana Pacers (25-52, 24 GB)
  14. Detroit Pistons (21-56, 28 GB)
  15. Orlando Magic (20-57, 29 GB)

There are playoff races to watch in both conferences over the final few weeks of the regular season.

The 10 teams in the East have been decided, with the bottom five having been mathematically eliminated from contention, but there's still plenty of room for movement in terms of seeding.

That includes a race for the top seed that still includes the Heat, Bucks, Celtics and Sixers.

"It's not the end-all, be-all. But it's a really competitive race in the East and this is what you always want," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters this week.

Meanwhile, the Suns have locked up the NBA's best record and the West's top seed, but there are still battles to earn a spot in the top six and also on the play-in fringe. The latter is led by the Pelicans, Spurs and Lakers, one of which will miss the playoffs.

A crucial game looms Friday night as Los Angeles hosts New Orleans.

"We have to stay in the fight and we have to give ourselves a chance. If we're able to get into the play-in game at full strength, we know we got a shot," L.A. head coach Frank Vogel said Thursday. "Tomorrow is even bigger obviously with the head-to-head with the Pelicans."

The 2021-22 NBA regular season is scheduled to wrap up April 10.