clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Western Conference sleepers to watch in the NBA Playoffs

We take a look at two sleepers who could make runs in the Eastern Conference.

Can Golden State upset Los Angeles (L)?

The NBA’s 2020-21 regular season has come to a close, and the playoff picture is solidifying. The top-6 seeds in the Western Conference have secured playoff berths, but the seventh and eighth seeds still need to be decided by a series of play-in games. This could be a big year for dark horses, and we’ve identified a pair who are capable of making some noise in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers

It’s hard to consider the seventh-seeded Lakers underdogs because their odds to repeat as champs are +400, but their road to the final stage should be much tougher this time around. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have missed a ton of games because of injuries, and Los Angeles hasn't had much of a chance to build chemistry. The Lakers will play at least two more games than all the teams in the top 6 and won’t have a home-court advantage for the duration of the playoffs. Los Angeles isn’t necessarily a longshot, but they do have the odds stacked against them. Having to go through the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game won’t necessarily make things easier.

Golden State Warriors

The eighth-seeded Warriors are far from being a dominant force in the Western Conference but have the league’s most dangerous scorer in Stephen Curry at their disposal. Golden State could just barely squeak into the playoffs, but having a player who can go for 40 points on even given night will be troubling for the higher-ranked teams. The Warriors were swept by the Suns during the regular season this year but managed to go 2-1 against the banged-up Utah Jazz. Utah was upset in a thrilling, seven-game series last year, and its two most important players guards — Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell — are dealing with lower-body injuries. Will either be equipped to contain Curry and company when the playoffs roll around? We’ll find out soon.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.