12 Games Left. How Must The Lakers Finish to Stay in Playoff Picture?

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks

With the Los Angeles Lakers 103-100 home loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, the Lakers have added additional drama to the last 3 weeks of the regular season. It was a major setback to say the least for a team holding on to their precarious 8th place position in the Western Conference. Instead of creating space from the pack of teams vying for one of the last playoffs spots, one of which the Lakers currently hold, the Lakers kept those teams’ hopes alive.

While the Washington Wizards have been much improved since the return of John Wall, they are a far inferior team to the Lakers both in terms of talent and experience. Add to the fact that the Wizards were playing on the road for their 3rd game in 5 nights against a team that is supposed to be making their feverish push towards playoffs. The loss at this juncture of the season for the Lakers is completely unacceptable.

The Lakers currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz, Blazers and Mavericks are within striking distance for that final spot that the Lakers currently hold.

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The Lakers will start a 4 game road trip in Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors on Monday. This will provide the Lakers a chance to gain some ground on Golden State for that 6th position. A loss on Monday and it will put the Lakers 4 games back of Golden State and pretty much put that 6th place position out of reach with just 11 games remaining.

Here is how the next 5 games look for those teams in that bottom bracket of the Western Conference playoff picture and those that will challenge for those positions:

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It will not be easy for the Lakers to hold on to their current playoff position and climbing up in the standings is starting to look more and more unlikely. The Lakers have the least home games of the teams currently jockeying for the 3 final spots in the playoffs. The also have the 2nd toughest schedule of those same teams to close out the season.

Remaining 12 games opponents home road

To put it simply, the Lakers can absolutely not afford to lose games they are supposed to win for the remainder of the season; games like the loss to the Washington Wizards at home or the like the loss to the Phoenix Suns on the road. The aforementioned losses put the Lakers current losing streak to two games and reasonable excuses can be made for each loss.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were out with injuries against Phoenix.

Kobe and Pau were just coming off injuries when they returned to the line up on Friday.

While those excuses are reasonable and fair, not making the playoffs with the current roster of future Hall-of-Famers is not. The Lakers have 12 games and 3 weeks remaining in the season. The time for excuses has run out for the Lakers and if they stop the need for formulating them, they might still be able to make run at this thing.

– Fern Rea “@raining3sdotcom” “@fullcourtfern”

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