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Can Jazz or Mavericks catch the Lakers for the eighth seed?

Mar 25, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT

SPO-BKN-NBA--WIZARDS-LAKERS Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are back in a more familiar place — the team being chased rather than the team playing catch-up. Granted, the Lakers aren’t really used to being chased for the eighth seed, but still it’s better to be the team being chased than the other way around.

Both the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz are two games back of the Lakers for the chance to face the Spurs in the first round.

Can either of those teams catch the Lakers? Maybe. Dallas is playing well and Utah’s schedule softens up, but both are going to need a lot more wins.

Dallas is 7-3 in its last 10 games and have pushed up the standings since he return of Dirk Nowitzki. While it seemed a long shot they could get back in the mix, the fall of the Jazz has put them just a couple steps behind the Lakers.

The reason we are talking about this at all is Utah has not looked like a playoff team lately — they have lost four games in a row and nine of their last 11. They were a playoff team that came back to the pack, let themselves get caught.

Players in Utah are frustrated — Paul Millsap has complained about playing time — and coach Ty Corbin can’t seem to find a rotation, a combination to turn this thing around. Two games is not going to be easy to make up on the Lakers, but it’s impossible if they don’t start winning. A lot.

Utah’s best hope is the schedule — theirs gets softer while the Lakers gets harder. Dallas has a tough stretch but could finish strong.

Utah has 12 games left, eight at home where the Jazz are 24-9 on the season. Of those dozen games, only five are against playoff teams. The Jazz have the struggling 76ers and Suns to start the week in Utah — those are must wins that could start a little run for Utah.

Dallas has a dozen games left, seven at home and five on the road. They play seven of those 12 against playoff teams but five of those are their next five games (including at the Lakers April 2). If Dallas can get through those five games and still be close, they have a chance.

The Lakers have 12 games left also, split evenly between home and road (with a four-game road trip this week). The Lakers have seven playoff teams left on their schedule including four of their last six. The Lakers had a soft schedule last week of the Suns and Wizards and lost both, a missed opportunity they could regret.

The bottom line for the Lakers is they have a cushion, they have to just keep winning and they are in. (It’s hard to see any of these teams closing a three game gap with the hot Rockets for the seven seed, or 3.5 with the Warriors at six.) But if the Lakers continue to stumble the schedule favors Utah — if Utah can keep tripping over it’s own feet. And Dallas is in the mix as well.

This could be a very interesting three weeks at the bottom of the Western Conference.

  1. dirtydavis - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    No… Lakers will shock the world in 2013

    • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Agreed. They will shock the world. Missing the playoffs after the hype in the preseason will be shocking the world.

      • dirtydavis - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Lakers 2013 NBA champs

  2. patfic15 - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I’m not shocked by the Lakers non success. Injuries + overrated mambas+ immature “star” center+ no defense coach…..yeah..good luck with that.

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      lol

  3. 00maltliquor - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Funny how there were articles not too long ago about IF the Lakers can make the playoffs, and everybody on the comment boards outside of Laker fans saying not a chance in hell. Hmmmm….

    • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Yes, and since then the Lakers have moved into the #8 spot without a firm grasp on it. Quite the giant leap they have taken. San Antonio must be quivering thinking about that match-up.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        Way to not understand the point of his post. Laker haters that comment on this website aren’t really the most logical bunch.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        I understood what he was saying. He was saying that not long ago there were articles saying the Lakers wouldn’t make the playoffs, and people agreed. Now they are ALL THE WAY up to the 8th seed and HATERS BE DAMNED.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        @ aboogy

        ….or the brightest. The hate clouds their judgement and objectivity.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 26, 2013 at 5:33 AM

        Clouds out judgement? We’re the ones not living in a fantasy land where the Lakers win the championship (or are even that good ) every single season.

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      They haven’t made the playoffs yet honey.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        But they’re not completly out like most of you losers said they were the whole season, sweetheart.

        Funny how you guys have every excuse in the book. “They’re not gonna crack the 8th seed”, “oh yeah, they’re not gonna keep the 8th seed”. Next is “they’re gonna get swept out the 1st round” to “they won’t win the 1st round”. Then comes the “they will get crushed the 2nd round…”

        Keep those excuses coming baby. Been hearing it forEVER.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 26, 2013 at 5:35 AM

        It’s pretty sad when you get all worked up defending the greatness of the Lakers when they’re a fringe playoff team.

        And don;t get ahead of yourself with the Lakers beating the Spurs in the playoffs. If they do, congrats to them and well earned….but how about you wait until the games are played before crowning this crumbling Lakers team champs.

    • zerole00 - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Malt, there’s a difference between the Lakers dominating and the Lakers doing so-so with the Jazz failing hard.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        zerole00

        Those are the breaks in the NBA. Happens every year to a lot of teams. Some teams get superstars with untimly injuries, others run out of gas, others make late pushes to get in, and so on and so forth. It’s just the way the NBA works.

        The Jazz are falling hard probably, maybe because they just aren’t that good. The Lakers are rising late probably, maybe because they are that good and are finally starting to gel. Sure we get crap games lie the WAS one, but stuff happens. Stop the hating please and just admit Lakers are on the come up and are surprizing people to even be in this situation.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      malt shoots n’ scores! thank you, brother. my thoughts as well. it will never be good enough. always be a reason or excuse. oh yeah…the playoffs were just a pipedream…(now)…welll you will get swept, etc…okay, man…you win (rolls eyes)

      dang…at least we talk about the team we love and brings happiness through positive lenses/scope…unlike haters who spend time in a negative light. ya know, i wonder what teams these guys like? do they even root for them or just spend their time hating on the Lakers? sad…just sad.

  4. progress2011 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    LBJ and Harden represent the quintessential professional level “FUNDAMENTALS” that the game of “BASKETBALL” was founded upon.

    1. Selfless play
    2. Making the right pass
    3. Ball rotation
    4. Breaking down the defense
    5. Setting up the offense to get good shots for others
    6. Athleticism to get anywhere on the court
    7. Inside and Outside efficiency

    Did I mention “SELFLESS PLAY”.

    What Basketball IS NOT !!

    1. One ego-maniac dude jacking up ridiculous, off balance, ill advised shots
    2. One dude playing “HERO BALL” to receive individual glorification
    3. One guy who puts his personal numbers, goals, legacy before the team
    4. Harlem Globetrotter/ And1 type degree of difficulty shots that adversely affect team chemistry

    I can watch LBJ and Harden play “FUNDAMENTAL” ball every night !

    FAKE Mambas …..well, I watch them to lose ! So, that the next generation of ball players don’t pick up the glorify the ” BAD FUNDAMENTAL” basketball !

  5. dirtydavis - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Lakers will fire M. D’antoni before playoffs

  6. fanofevilempire - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    not one of the Laker haters have the nutz to mention what team they root for.
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Lakers, it’s where you go to win the big gold basketball trophy!

    Mamba will see you suckers in the playoffs!

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      Yawwwwn.

      BTW – root for Heat. I guess I have nutz. Moomba will see us in the playoffs only if his home TV is tuned in.

      • dirtydavis - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        ^^^ Heat fan since July 2011

      • loungefly74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        haha. Heat fan…how convenient. this is just as bad as the big ladies at my work who swoon over Lebron and now are Heat fans…awesome! way to be a true fan!

    • andyhr17 - Mar 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      Celtics fan, and I’ll be the first one to admit that our season is a failure. I’m not delusional enough to call the season a success because they will make the playoffs. They may be a tough matchup for someone, but they’re not winning any hardware this year or next.

      But hey, keep telling yourself that the Lakers have turned things around and that the season is saved because you may edge out the Jazz for the last playoff spot.

  7. sportsnut101 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    If lakers miss playoffs by being 9th seed. Stern will pass new rule where there’s one wild card added to playoffs now. New laker rule.

    Glad to see them struggle

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Stern will not NOT add another team to playoffs! He cannot add.

  8. cavemanna - Mar 26, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Dude, why so much to say about the Lakers? Talk about your team , and the fact that Kobe has more championships then your favorite team does. More than likely, most of you haters aren’t old enough to have watched Kobe play with Adult eyes for 17 yrs and your polarized by the greatness that you think LBJ is

  9. andy45386 - Mar 26, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    THE WAY MEDIA WORKS:

    Jazz lose 4 straight by less than 10 to playoff teams and they are ‘free falling’.

    Lakers lose 3 straight to the Wizards, Phoenix, and Golden State and they are ‘showing why they are a playoff team’.

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