Lakers center Andrew Bynum, right, jokes around with teammate Pau Gasol… (Paul Buck / EPA )
This is hardly a surprise. The Lakers typically open the NBA playoffs on Sunday afternoons. It's one of the easiest schedule quirks that ensures that L.A. plays the league's marquee game when most fans are at home. But it's now official. The Lakers will open their first-round series ranked third and host Game 1 at Staples Center either against the Dallas Mavericks or Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets (37-28) have a one-game lead for sixth place over the Mavericks (36-29) and will have the No. 6 seeding should they beat Minnesota on Thursday night. Should Denver lose to the Timberwolves and Dallas beats Atlanta, the Mavericks would be seeded No. 6 because they own the tiebreaker over the Nuggets.
The Clippers also open the NBA playoffs Sunday with a first-round series against Memphis, but a double-header at Staples Center might not take place. Memphis will earn the Western Conferecene's fourth seed with a win tonight against Orlando and would host Game 1 against the Clippers. Meanwhile, Saturday's games will include the San Antonio Spurs seeded first and hosting the Utah Jazz, while the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder will either face Denver or Dallas.
In the Eastern Conference, the Saturday games will feature the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat either hosting the Philadelphia 76ers or New York Knicks, while the Indiana Pacers welcome the Orlando Magic. The lone Eastern Conference game Sunday features Atlanta and Boston with home-court advantage still to be determined.