April 5, 2013 Leave a comment
With the Lakers dominating 101-81 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, the fight for the West’s coveted #8 seed is now essentially a two-horse race between the Lakers and Utah.
With the loss Dallas falls two games behind the Lakers in the loss column, but because the Lakers won the tie-breaker it is actually a three-game lead. After losing to Denver Thursday, the Mavs would have to go 7-0 the rest of the way and hope the Lakers stumble to 3-4 to overtake L.A. Not happening.
Golden Nugget: Denver beats Utah, helps out Lakers
The Lakers chances of making the 2013 NBA Playoffs significantly improved Wednesday night when the Denver Nuggets beat the Jazz in Utah. It was a game the Lakers needed Utah to lose, as the Jazz have 3 remaining games with lowly New Orleans and Minnesota (twice) still on their schedule.
The Lakers now own a half game advantage over Utah for that eighth and final playoff spot with seven games remaining on their schedule. The Jazz still have a tough home game with possible first-round opponent Oklahoma City coming up, as well as road tests at Golden State and Memphis.
Utah has it much easier down the stretch than the Lakers. While the Lakers play all but one of their remaining games at Staples Center, they face much tougher opponents. Given Utah’s favorable schedule, that game against the Grizzlies to close the regular season could decide who get the #8 seed in the West.
Home Cookin’: Projecting the Lakers final seven games
Make no mistake about it Lakers fans– the season was on the line Tuesday night when L.A. and Dallas squared off. Had the Lakers lost that game, it’s likely that either the Jazz or the Mavs would have grabbed that eighth and final playoff spot.
With that huge win and Utah’s loss to Denver, the Lakers most likely need to go 5-2 down the stretch to make the playoffs. This is assuming that the Jazz lose two of the three following games: at Golden State, vs. Oklahoma City, at Memphis. There’s a good chance they do just that.
The Lakers need to win their home games against New Orleans, Golden State and Houston. If they can’t win those games, they probably don’t deserve to make the playoffs. They also need to find a way to win at Portland, second night of a back-to-back after the Hornets game. It will be the Lakers’ last chance to win both sides of a back-to-back so the pressure is on.
If they win those four games, the Lakers could go 1-2 against their toughest remaining opponents: vs. Memphis, at L.A. Clippers and vs. San Antonio. Given that all three of those games are at Staples Center, the Lakers might even be able to steal two out of three.
This sets up a wild weekend in Los Angeles as the Lakers almost certainly have to win one of their two games against the Grizzlies or Clippers or risk missing the playoffs altogether.