Just like that, the winner of the Western Conference is up for grabs.
It was a game that was supposed to have ramifications in terms of playoff seeding, instead it changed the entire playoff dynamic.
Andrew Bynum was injured last night against the San Antonio Spurs and it didn't look pretty. Bynum will not travel with the Lakers later tonight as they face the Sacramento Kings and will instead stay in Los Angeles to get an MRI on what is being described as a "hyper-extended knee." With a history of knee problems, this can not be good news for the Lakers, who were prepared to rely on Bynum during the playoffs, as they begin their quest for a three-peat.
If Bynum is out for a significant portion of the playoffs, every team has a legitimate shot at advancing in the West. Having said that, the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the clear cut favorite with the addition of Kendrick Perkins.
The sixth seed was secured by the Portland Trailblazers with their win against the Memphis Grizzlies last night. The Grizzlies should be locked into the eighth seed as they will presumably rest all of their starters against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. Assuming the Grizzlies lose, the New Orleans Hornets will be the seventh seed. If the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Hornets, the Grizzlies would be the seventh seed.
Even though the Lakers were able to hang on against the Spurs last night, the second seed is still a possibility for the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have to travel to Sacramento to play a Kings' team who could very well be playing their last game as a franchise in Sacramento. Even with a healthy Bynum, that task was going to be tough given the circumstances. Without Bynum? The Kings have a great chance to upset the Lakers.
The scenarios for the second seed and possible Mavericks playoff matchups after the jump...
A Lakers win against the Kings nullifies everything as they would get the second seed.
If the Kings beat the Lakers and the Mavericks beat the Hornets, the Mavericks would have the second seed.
If the Lakers lose, the Grizzlies lose and the Mavericks win, the Mavs would be the two seed and face the New Orleans Hornets.
If the Lakers lose, Grizzlies win and Mavericks win, the Mavericks would be the two seed and face the Memphis Grizzlies.
The most likely scenario- The Lakers win and the Mavericks win setting up a playoff matchup against the Portland Trailblazers.
It's complicated but thankfully everything will be settled at night's end.
And who knows, maybe the Mavericks can make some noise in these playoffs after all.