NBA Playoff Bracket 2023: Here’s where LA’s teams stand 2 weeks ahead of playoffs

It’s the Wild West in the NBA’s Western Conference and the playoff race has become a true nail-biter for both Laker Nation and Clipper Nation with six games and under left in the regular season.

LeBron James #6, D'Angelo Russell #1 and Anthony Davis #3. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

With less than two weeks before the play-in tournament and nearly two weeks before the playoff rounds begin, seeding remains uncertain and anything could happen until the final buzzer goes off on Easter Sunday.

LeBron James is back, but his return initially did not go as hoped following a 118-108 Los Angeles Lakers home game loss to the Bulls Sunday night. The Lakers then faced Chicago again on Wednesday in an away game at the United Center and came out on top, fueled by a remarkable 38-point performance by Anthony Davis. 

Meanwhile, the LA Clippers were without superstars Paul George (injured) and Kawhi Leonard (last-minute scrap due to personal reasons) Wednesday night in Memphis. No Klaw? No PG13? No problem. There is another All-Star on the roster, after all.

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Vintage Russell Westbrook was unleashed. He ended the game with 36 points, 10 assists, and went 5-5 from the three-point line in a 141-132 victory. 

Where do the Lakers and Clippers stand in the playoff race?

It's so close in the West, the seeding positions are changing on an almost nightly basis. On Thursday morning, the Lakers were the eighth seed, but the rising Pelicans had a blowout win against Denver and knocked the Lakers down to ninth place. 

NBA Standings as of the morning of March 31, 2023:


If the NBA season were to have ended Thursday night, the new-look Lakers would face Oklahoma City for a single-elimination game. If they were to lose, the Lake Show would conclude for the season, and they would be eliminated from playoff contention entirely.

If the Lakers were to win that matchup, they would then face the loser of the Pelicans vs. Timberwolves play-in game. If the Lakers came out victorious, they would become the eighth seed and would take on Denver for the first round of the playoffs. 

Lakers remaining schedule: 

  • Friday, March 31: Timberwolves
  • Sunday, April 2: Rockets
  • Tuesday, April 4: Jazz
  • Wednesday, April 5: Clippers
  • Thursday, April 6: Suns
  • Sunday, April 9: Jazz

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

For the Clippers, this season has been a complete roller coaster. They finally have Leonard back, and he’s been phenomenal since his return. However, as luck would have it, the Clippers have been without Paul George since March 21 due to a knee injury, and the earliest he could come back would be in the second round of the playoffs. At this point, there is no timetable for his return.  

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Paul George out at least 2-3 weeks after suffering knee sprain in Clippers loss to Thunder

Despite the odds, the Clips are not going down without a fight and have clawed their way to the fifth seed with their "Next Man Up," mentality. 

The potential road to the NBA Finals, which would be the first in franchise history, is no easy journey. As of now, the Clippers would see the Phoenix Suns in the first round with a healthy Kevin Durant. 

Clippers remaining schedule:

  • Friday, March 31: Grizzlies
  • Saturday, April 1: Pelicans
  • Wednesday, April 5: Lakers
  • Saturday, April 8: Trail Blazers
  • Sunday, April 9: Suns

Possible history in the making

From LA all the way up to Sacramento, this could be the first year in league history that all four California-based NBA teams reach the playoffs.

With Mike Brown as the new head coach, and a young and mighty roster bursting with talent, the Sacramento Kings have been the undeniable breakout team of the season. Currently, the Kings have the best record out of all California teams and are ranked third in the WC. 

While Sacramento has been proud to "Light the Beam," some predict the momentum won't last in the playoffs. 

"The teams in the West look at the Kings as the team that could be upset and be beat," Brian Windhorst said on ESPN’s "First Take" Thursday. "Number one, they haven’t done it before and number two, because they have a weak defense. They have awesome offense, but a weak defense." 

"If you’re the Lakers and can crawl to six which not only avoids the play-in but gets you into a situation with the Kings where it’s short travel and you stay in California…that’s what the Lakers would like to do," he added.

Golden State, the defending champs, currently hold the sixth seed. If they keep that ranking, it'll be the "Battle of NorCal" for the first-round series. 

For now, it’s still too close and too early to call. 

Angelenos can enjoy a playoff atmosphere when the Clippers and Lakers battle it out at the Arena on April 5. It will be the first time Westbrook faces his former team.