Why the Lakers shouldn't tank their play-in game vs. New Orleans | Good Word with Goodwill

Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill and Bomani Jones discuss the Lakers' strategy ahead of Tuesday's play-in game against the Pelicans. Hear the full conversation on “Good Word with Goodwill” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

VINCENT GOODWILL: The Lakers put the beats on New Orleans yesterday. They were up by damn near 40, at a point, and I don't think I'm really exaggerating there.

So their reward is the eighth seed. They're playing New Orleans, again, on Tuesday night. And the reward for that is, hey, how about the Denver Nuggets if you win that game in the play-in? And everybody's like, the Lakers should lose their game to the Pelicans to get out of the way of the Denver Nuggets. So you mean put themselves in a one-to-one series with either the Warriors, who they're 1 and 3 against, or the Kings who they're 0 and 4 against? I think they should win that game tomorrow.

BOMANI JONES: Yeah. I mean, as the LeBron James invitational comes closer and closer, I mean, it's hard to have a play-in without LeBron James, it seems. I don't-- I don't think that when they got this thing cracking, that the expectation was going to be that in two different years, we would have a possibility of LeBron versus Steph Curry in the play-in, Vinny. In the play-in.

I don't think this is what was it. It's not what LeBron envisioned when he thought it was silly, right? None of us thought that this was going to happen. But we are now-- with the LeBron James invitational ahead of us, I'm with you. You got to win the game that you got to win. You do not want to put yourself in a position to where if we lose this, we don't make it to the playoffs.

You don't want that. No, you don't want to play Denver. Nobody wants to play Denver. But no matter what happens to you in the West, if you're lucky, you're going to get the chance to go play Denver and lose. Everybody's going to get the chance to go play Denver and lose.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, my thing is this, if you're going to give the Lakers a chance-- and I'm not saying I'd give them a chance. If I'm going to give the Lakers a chance, I'm going to give them a chance early rather than late because we saw what happened in the Conference Finals last year.

So LeBron, early in the playoff series, healthier, a little more rested, not as worn down. I'll give him a better chance in the first round than I will in a second round or a Conference Final series. Either way, you're going home. It's just a matter of how competitive it's going to be.

BOMANI JONES: Yeah. I feel like the one argument that you could make, though-- and I don't mean to make this so particular to one man but I think you'll get it. Maybe later, you hope that Michael Porter kind of wears down because that's the guy whose body you always worry something might happen. though. He trekked through this year fairly strong.

But nah, you got to get in. All that I'm going to do this to try to get to this, nah. Nah. Nah. I think you ought to just get out here and win a game. That's what I would do if I was you. I'd just go win a game.