Lakers on the cusp of winning Western Conference semi-finals

Lakers stand for the national anthem before Game 3.


Lakers stand for the national anthem before Game 3.

If you are a basketball fan, you already know the Los Angeles Lakers are dominating Round 2 of the NBA playoffs. This season was a big comeback for them. Many weren’t even sure if the Lakers would have a chance to make it to the playoffs this year. 

In the 2022-2023 season, the NBA decided to change how teams qualify for playoffs. This year’s play-in tournament brought in teams that were seeded 7-10 in their conference. This new system allowed teams who are seeded lower another chance to enter into playoffs. Lakers have been a 10th or lower seed team and normally they would not qualify under the old system, yet, since they were able to claw their way up to 7th seed this year, they made the playoffs without the help of the new system.

“I’m glad they decided to have the play-in tournament because it gives other teams an opportunity to be in the playoffs,” said Michael Ascencio (10). 

This season many Lakers fans had doubts. They believed the Lakers weren’t going to make it to the playoffs. One of the reasons they felt that was they lost their first preseason game against the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers were the 13th seed for the longest time during this season, and fans were giving up hope for this year till the Lakers made a trade. 

The Lakers traded Russell Westbrook for D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook in 2021, so he can be part of the Big Three:  him, Lebron James, and Anthony Davis. Yet, Westbrook didn’t really work well with James and Davis, so they decided to trade him. This seemed to spell trouble for the team. 

But, after the Lakers traded Westbrook for Russell, there was a spark with the team. The Big Three:  Russell, James, and Davis really work well together like there was some sort of chemistry there. With this new team, the Lakers were able to work up the standings in the Western Conference. A couple of games before playoffs, the Lakers were moving around from 7th seed to 9th seed and at the last moment they were able to be 7th seed and be in the play-in tournament.

“I’m honestly very proud of my team and how well they have become throughout this season,” says Noah Tagaloa (10). 

In the play-in tournament, the Lakers played against the Minnesota Timberwolves and won. With the win against the Timberwolves, they were up against the Memphis Grizzlies (51-31), the number 2 seed. Fans were happy about the Lakers making it to the playoffs but thought they would be eliminated by the Grizzlies. Once the first game happened, the Lakers were leading the series 1-0 and their fans were in shock. By game 6 of the 7-game series, the Lakers won the series, 4-2. So, that meant that the Lakers moved on to round 2 against the Warriors. “The Lakers had never stopped surprising me, and honestly, I think they can make it to the championships,” said Josue Salcedo (10). 

Round 2 has brought back so many memories for Warriors fans and Cleveland Cavaliers fans, too. Having the Warriors and Lakers compete against each other brings up memories of the Lebron James and Steph Curry rivalry. During the 2015-18 season, the NBA championships were between the Warriors and Cavaliers, every year, and this was one of the biggest rivalry of this generation. 

“I know it’s not ever going to be the same, but I’m glad that we can see this rivalry once again,” said Faith Ledesma (11).

Right now, the Lakers are leading 3-1 this round against the Warriors. Game 5 will be tonight at 7 p.m.