Lakers Playoff Watch 2013: Lakers Magic Number is Down to 3

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The Los Angeles Lakers 113-106 win over the Portland Trailblazers last night dropped the Lakers magic number to 3; any Lakers win or Utah Jazz loss will drop that number and when it hits zero the Lakers officially clinch a playoff spot. I dont know how we got to the point of celebrating something that was always a forgone conclusion as the Lakers qualifying for the playoffs, but here we are.

The Lakers are not going to have an easy time getting their magic number to hit zero. The Lakers play their remaining 3 games of the regular season in the comfy confines of Staples Center, but they will all be against playoff teams. Here is how the remaining schedule shapes out for the Lakers:

Friday 4/12 – Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers – 730pm Pacific Time

  • The Golden State Warriors will still have something to play for when the come to town. The Warriors are in a battle with the Houston Rockets for the 6th spot and the right to avoid either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round. The Warriors will be playing on the 2nd night of a back to back, but only flying in from Oakland where they’ll be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. The Lakers are 2-1 this season against the Warriors, with their last loss coming in their previous match up on 3/25 in Oakland where the Warriors won 109-103.

Sunday 4/14 – San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers – 630pm Pacific time

  • It will be interesting how the San Antonio Spurs will approach this game against the Lakers. The Spurs are in a battle for the top seed in the West with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but with the Manu Ginobli out and Tony Parker ailing, they could concede the top seed and choose to start resting their starters. The Lakers absolutely need to win every game to close out the season just to make the playoffs if the Jazz continue to win; however, a drawback to that is that by beating the Spurs and dropping them to the 2nd seed, the Lakers will have to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round, a team they do not match up well against.

Wednesday 4/17 – Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers – 730pm Pacific time

  • The final game of the regular season for both the Rockets and the Lakers. The Rockets might have nothing to play for by the time this game comes around, but with their young line up resting for the playoffs shouldn’t be of great concern. A chance to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs might be all the motivation that the Rockets’ players need to get up for this game.

The Utah Jazz final 3 games:

Friday 4/12 – Minnesota Timberwolves at Utah Jazz – 4pm Pacific Time

Monday 4/15 – Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves – 3pm Pacific Time

  • The Utah Jazz get a break by playing a home and home against one of the worse teams in the league and a team they’ve beaten both times they’ve played this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Jazz are great at home but have issues on the road where they went 12-27 this season. The Wolves might not put up much of a fight but do have a chance once they get the Jazz away from Salt Lake City on Monday.

Wednesday 4/17 – Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies – 3pm Pacific time

  • The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in a battle with the Denver Nuggets for the #3 seed and might have something to play for when the Jazz come to town for the final regular season game. Assuming the Grizzlies are motivated, they are tough to beat at home where they went 31-8 on the season. The Utah Jazz are 1-2 versus the Grizzlies this season.

– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern” and “@raining3sdotcom”

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