L.A. Lakers: Top Seed Is There for the Taking, but Do the Lakers Even Want It?

I recently wrote an article about the chances of the Los Angeles Lakers overtaking the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the West, and after the Spurs' third consecutive loss, those odds have greatly improved.

San Antonio is currently reeling due to the loss of forward Tim Duncan to a severely sprained ankle, and to compound matters, they also lost guard Manu Ginobili to a thigh injury in their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

The Spurs are now four games ahead of the Lakers with nine games left to play, and although the top seed may be firmly within the Lakers' reach, would they be better served by settling for the No. 2 seed?

Some fans have expressed reservations about the Lakers claiming the West's top seed, and most of those doubts concern a potentially harder road to the NBA Finals.

If the playoffs started today, the Lakers would face the New Orleans Hornets in the first round and either the Dallas Mavericks or the Portland Trail Blazers if they advance past the Hornets.

The Spurs would play the Grizzlies in the first round, and a win would mean a semifinals matchup with either the Denver Nuggets or the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Charting potential playoff opponents can be a tricky proposition since performances in the regular season usually do not mean much in the playoffs, but I can understand why some Lakers fans would prefer the second seed.

The Lakers defeated the Hornets last night for their 15th victory in 16 games and their seventh straight win overall, but more importantly they swept the season series with the Hornets.

New Orleans does not match up very well with the Lakers' size up front, and their situation was made more desperate with the announcement that forward David West was lost for the season due to a knee injury.

The prospects of the Hornets beating the Lakers in a seven-game series with a healthy West were slim to be...

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