The Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 loss to the Golden State Warriors last night did more than just drop them 1 game in the standings; it returned the doubt that hovered over the team for most of the season. Much of that doubt had been erased during the Lakers most recent run that saw them climb out of the lower ranks of the Western Conference and back up to playoff contention.
It was just a few games ago that Dwight Howard had been praised for his renewed energy and activity on the defensive end.
Antwan Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake had become a formidable 2nd unit.
Kobe was Kobe again.
Then…the last 3 games happened.
The loss to the Warriors last night dropped the Lakers to 4 and ½ games behind the Golden State Warriors for the 6th seed. While the Lakers do play the Warriors once more this season and do hold the tie breaker over them, with only 10 games remaining for the Warriors it is highly unlikely that the Lakers can jump them the standings.
The Lakers are currently 3 and ½ games behind the Houston Rockets for the 7th seed and play them in the last game of the season. Catching Houston is slightly more realistic as they have 12 games remaining on their schedule, but again those chances are slight.
It looks like the Lakers will have to settle for playing for their playoff lives in their final 11 games of the regular season. Both the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks will challenge the Lakers for that 8th and final playoff spot.
Current Standings 6th through 10th seeds:
Seeding / Team / Record / Games back of the 6th seed
6. Golden State 41-31, –
7. Houston 39-31, 1 game back
8. Lakers 36-35, 4.5 games back
9. Utah 35-36, 5.5 games back
10. Dallas 34-36, 6 games back
Last nights’ (3/26) results of teams seeded 6th through 10th in Western Conference:
Utah Jazz 107 over Philadelphia 76ers 91
- The Jazz win over the 76ers combined with the Lakers loss to the Warriors brings the Jazz 1 game closer to the Lakers in the standings. The Jazz are now just 1 game back of the Lakers for the 8th seed and have moved up ½ a game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks who were idle on Monday.
Tonight’s games (3/26) of teams seeded 6th through 10th in the Western Conference:
Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks – 6:30pm Pacific Time
- The Mavericks have a chance to pick up the 1/2 game on both the idle Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers; however, it will be a tough task with the Clippers coming to town, a team they have yet to beat this season (0-2 vs. the Clippers this season). The Mavericks have won 8 of their last 11 games to put themselves back in playoff contention.
Tomorrow’s games (3/27) of teams seeded 6th through 10th in the Western Conference:
Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves – 5pm Pacific Time
- This will be the 2nd game of the Lakers current 4 game road trip. After the setback in Golden State Monday night this is a must win to keep their current playoff position. A loss here combined with a Jazz win in tonight and the Lakers are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture yet again. The Timberwolves will be playing on the 2nd night of a back to back after flying back from Detroit for Tuesday’s game against the Pistons.
Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets – 5pm Pacific time
- While the Indiana Pacers are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, they are below average on the road at 15-19. The Houston Rockets are on a roll, having won 3 in a row and 6 of their last 7 at home.
Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz – 6pm Pacific time
- The Utah Jazz have struggled of late but they are still one of the best teams in their home arena. The rarified air in Utah has helped the Jazz form a 25-9 record at home. They’ll play a Phoenix team tonight that is struggling mightily; they’ve lost 3 in row, 8 of their last 10 and are a woeful 7-28 on the road.
Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm Pacific time
- The Warriors played Monday night but that shouldn’t be much of an issue as they had a relatively easy time with the Lakers at home until late in the 4th quarter. Steph Curry looked good despite being game time decision. The Kings come in having lost 2 in a row and are the NBA’s worse road team at 6-30.
– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern” and “@raining3sdotcom”