[Source] - The hottest conspiracy theory in the NBA is that the Lakers’ rivals in the Western Conference are trying to help Portland become the eighth seed in the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers have been one of the more impressive teams in the bubble, with wins over Houston and Denver, and they nearly beat Boston, which is third in the East and has won 46 games.
So when Clippers coach Doc Rivers rested Kawhi Leonard on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, and then pulled his other star, Paul George, from the game with five minutes remaining and the Clippers trailing by three, eyebrows raised. Was this an attempt to throw the game to improve the chances the Lakers would have to see this tough team in the first round?
Then the coach was asked if he thought the Trail Blazers could beat the Lakers.
“I don’t get involved in that,” said Rivers, whose team beat Portland despite not having its stars in at the end. “I honestly don’t look at it. I heard our guys talking about it, I’m like, ‘Listen, that’s their business. Our business is who we’re playing.’ We need to focus on that.”
Oh fuck yes. Give me all the conspiracy theories. There's nothing I enjoy more than a solid sports conspiracy theory - part of the reason I love the NBA Draft Lottery so much. Every year there's a storyline that someone rigged it. And now we have it with the NBA bubble and more importantly teams throwing games so the Blazers can get into the playoffs and beat the Lakers.
It's the best. First off, it's so outrageous that I'm inclined to believe it. What's it matter for the Clippers if they lose when they are basically locked into the 2 seed. But more importantly, there's no guarantee the Blazers even make the playoffs! They have to hold off the Spurs (just a .5 game up) then they have to win the play-in series just to get the Lakers. At that point they are still dogs to a team that has LeBron and Anthony Davis.
That said, I don't hate the mental games here. Start putting it out there that teams want the Blazers to make the playoffs. See how LeBron reacts. See what the Lakers do here. You're locked in this bubble start some mental warfare and let's crank this all up a notch or two. Not to mention I want to keep seeing chippy play. I want hard fouls. I want dudes pissed off at each other. If that's because of a conspiracy theory, I'm all for it.