The Los Angeles Lakers are finally on a roll and making a strong push towards the playoffs. The Lakers have won 5 of their last 6 and 13 of their last 18. As it stands right now, the Lakers are 2 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz who currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot and have 22 games remaining on their schedule.
We have calculated the necessary record that the Lakers will need to accomplish in their final 22 games in order to reach each of the bottom seeds without the need of a tie breaker. The following is based on the projected finish of the teams currently holding the bottom playoff positions listed above.
Realistically, the Lakers have a shot at seeds #6 through #8 which means that the Lakers will not have home court advantage to start the playoffs and outside of a major upset, they will not have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Lets take a look at how the Lakers remaining schedule stacks up against those teams they’ll be competing against for the final 3 spots in the playoffs.
The teams with the most difficult schedule remaining are the Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz; both play the most playoff teams and face the toughest competition to close out the season. It is looking good for Houston and Golden State who both have a disproportion number of home games remaining versus road games.
Half of the teams that the Lakers will face to end the season are current playoff teams, starting with a very tough match up Tuesday night in Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. If the Lakers are going to clinch a spot for the post season, they’ll have to do a lot of work on the road as 12 of their remaining 22 games will be away from home.
The Lakers have dug themselves a hole by playing some uninspired ball early in the year. With their current improved play and slight momentum, they have a chance to erase some of the disappointment of not coming close to the high expectations coming into the season. While a legitimate run at a championship would seem improbable considering the way they’ve played this year, the Lakers can at least keep those championship hopes alive by making the post season.
– Fern Rea “@raining3sdotcom” “@fullcourtfern”