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Lakers’ playoff position narrows after loss to the Bucks

Mar 28, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT

Lakers' Howard challenges Bucks' Ilyasova for the ball during the second half of a NBA basketball game in Milwaukee

Every game is critical for the Lakers down the stretch of the regular season, if the team hopes to maintain the hold on a tenuous playoff spot it took them essentially the entire year to secure.

Nothing is secured yet, of course, and after falling in Milwaukee on Thursday by a final of 113-103, L.A. is just a half game ahead of Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot out West.

The Lakers are tied with the Jazz in the loss column, and just a game ahead of the Mavericks there after Dallas was blown out at home at the hands of the Pacers.

L.A. hasn’t swept a back-to-back set by winning two games on consecutive nights all season long, and they’ll finish the season that way, since the loss to the Bucks was their last opportunity given the way the rest of the schedule shakes out.

As for this game in particular, there was nothing unusual that contributed to the Lakers’ woes if you’ve watched this team at all over the course of the season. The perimeter defense was dreadful, and the help rotations were nonexistent. L.A. went small for the second straight game with Metta World Peace out of the lineup by starting Jodie Meeks and shifting Kobe Bryant to the three, with predictably underwhelming defensive results.

The Lakers were out to a lead of as many as 13 points early, but in the second half, the offense went cold, and they allowed the Bucks to shoot better than 53 percent from the field over the game’s final two periods. Larry Sanders managed to not get himself ejected, and was particularly effective in tallying 15 points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots in 17 second half minutes.

Bryant led all scorers with 30 points on 6-17 shooting, thanks to getting to the free throw line 20 times and knocking down 18 of those attempts. Steve Nash left the game with 5:13 to play and did not return thanks to a “hip spasm,” as he characterized it afterward. He’s expected to play in the Lakers’ next game on Saturday in Sacramento against the Kings.

The playoffs aren’t guaranteed for these Lakers, and with Utah regaining balance and the Mavericks playing better as of late (despite Thursday night’s struggles), L.A. can’t afford to take any nights off.

After a strong push following the All-Star break, the Lakers are just 5-5 over their last 10 games, and they’ll need to figure things out quickly over the nine games that are left in the regular season just to be able sneak into the postseason.

  1. dannymac17 - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    when you give up 100+ every night there is a defensive problem.

  2. jaewest304 - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Bad coaching choice. Should’ve hired Phil Jackson and the discussion would be about how unstoppable this Lakers team is.

  3. fearthehoody - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Clipper Nation……Runs LA

  4. kingbeason52 - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Add to the fact that they lost a Bucks team and they think they have a chance in the Western conference playoffs..there is no reason they should be losing these game with Kobe posting 30..and Dwight having a 15 and 15 game..

    • badintent - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      The reason is called Turnovers

    • phillylawhopeful - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Kobe posted 30 on 6 makes. There’s no 5 point shot, right? He got, and always gets, a lot of questionable foul calls. He shot 35% while his three all star teammates shot 50%+. Had a 1:2 assist:turnover ratio. He is the problem. He loves hero ball. But Kobe lovers will continue to blame everyone else on the team.

  5. mazblast - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    What are the tiebreakers if the Lakers wind up deadlocked for the 8th spot–and how does David Stern declare the Lakers the winner regardless?

  6. progress2011 - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    35% shooting = a LOSS EVERYNIGHT !!!!

    Fake MJ/ Ball Hawk/ Harlem Globetrotter/ And 1 took 17 shots but only made 6 …….There’s you Loss!

    The FAKER organization is allowing one dude to destroy any possibility of team chemistry and growth for next year and the years to follow…..to help him pursue his personal goals…..chasing the numbers of the REAL MJ.

    They deserve to lose EVERY GAME!

    • 24thesho - Mar 29, 2013 at 5:16 AM

      C’mon mang! Steve Nash is not jelling, D. Howard is getting beat even under the basket and when he does get the ball, he bobbles it. D’Antoni does not know defense.., at all; his system has never worked. I think Kobe would like to not take all of the shots but it’s too close to risk any of those other bozos take shots. Howard’s should be demanding the ball, but doesn’t because he’s not good…, just athletic. He has no big man skills…, at all; he’s just a big dude.

      • 24thesho - Mar 29, 2013 at 7:08 AM

        “Howard should be demanding….”, I meant. Not “Howard’s”.

    • patfic15 - Mar 29, 2013 at 6:33 AM

      Thank you. How more people don’t see this, I’ll never understand. And yes, I’m a Kobe ” hater”. So spare me the line…..

    • aboogy123456 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      Kobe shot 6-17 but how many shots did he take where he got fouled and made both of his free throws? If you are going to use stats in your argument, at least try to understand what they mean. Your conveniently ignoring that kobe was 18-20 from the line. While you may point to his field goal percentage, someone more educated may point to his true shooting percentage and say he actually had a good game.

      • bucrightoff - Mar 29, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        And the even more educated who watched the game saw several questionable calls, especially Kobe pushing off. That one at the end of the 3rd quarter when he literally shoves the guy away and is then able to walk in for an uncontested layup was embarassing. And I always say its the star system, so its not a Kobe specific thing. There are many games when Kevin Durant, primarily a jump shooter, has 15-20 FT attempts. Your rep and star status are more important than calling the game correctly.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        yea. I think we can all agree the NBA refs suck. Whatever the reason is that kobe is getting all these calls, he still shot 18–20 from the free throw line, so his scoring impact was still positive.

  7. bucrightoff - Mar 29, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Kobe is 59 for his last 150. Dude had like a two week run where he actually passed and what do you know they played pretty well. 17 years and still hasn’t learned.

  8. magicbucs - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    In Orlando Howard was turnover prone also BUT the magic won games cause they played great TEAM defense with Dwight. It was rare the the magic with d12 allowed 100 Pts in the last 3 seasons d12 was there. The problem isn’t just the coaching. It’s the players. THEY SUCK!

  9. omniusprime - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Another pathetic coaching job by Dumbtoni. No reason the Lakers should have lost last night to the lowly Bucks, utter coaching incompetence that they blew a 13 point lead in the second half. A total lack of defense is Dumbtoni’s fault because he doesn’t coach defense and Trash Nash doesn’t play any defense.

    Where’s the team’s sense of urgency? They have no lock on a playoff spot so have no room form being complacent now just because they now have the 8 seed. Once again this recent spate of losses is all because the Lakers have the sorriest excuse for a coach they could possibly have.

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!!

  10. jtfawver - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    1st of all I find it funny that just 2 weeks ago Lakers fans were claiming NO ONE wanted to play the Lakers in the playoffs…

    2nd. Stop with the Phil Jackson nonsense. He was the Lakers coach when Dallas ran them off the floor & swept them. The fact is with Steve Nash, Kobe, & a past his prime MWP the perimeter defense is 1 of the worst in the NBA. No coach could fix that. But let me guess, if phil were coach then Dwight Howard would block every single shot when opposing team’s PG’s have a lay up line all night?

    • conjecture101 - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      3rd. You have no clue. The Lakers were the 2nd seed in the West the year they lost to Dallas. So as bad as they looked in that series, they still were still able to produce a regular season that Mike D’antoni could only dream about. Nobody said the 98 Bulls were “too old” with Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, & Harper all “past their prime” If you are as good as these guys are “past your prime
      is still better than most of the NBA. I guess 11 rings isn’t enough to convince people these days.

  11. aboogy123456 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    The bucks are actually a pretty good team and when their guards play well they can beat anybody any night. I think what happened last night was the lakers just don’t have the energy to be able to play hard for 48 minutes, especially on a back to back game. This is why metta’s injury hurts so much, he makes it easier on the rest of the team because he guards the best wing player on the other team and he also can create offense when kobe is on the bench. Without metta, kobe has to do too much and it’s not sustainable unless someone else steps up.

  12. bigrele - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Oh! Watch out western conference teams! Beware THIS 8th seeded team! They are clearly THE most dangerous 8th seeded team in the history of the NBA, lol hahahahaha! The WORST 8th seeded team of all the 16 playoff teams for this years playoffs & the Lakers couldn’t even finish the job after being up by 13 in the 2nd half, wow! But yet ALL the chatter on the boards from good ole lakerloser & his merry lil bunch bragging & boasting on a team barely floating above .500 about how dominant Howard & Gasol gonna be once Gasol came back; so um how many wins is that now since Gasol’s return? ONE! One freaking game so far! Ha! As usual, lakerluver is NOWHERE to be found! Disappears like a fart in the wind until the Lakers actually win which is hardly ever

    • dmcannon99 - Mar 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      I assume you realize you sound like a troll with your ranting and whining (and excessive use of exclamation points and silly “hahahaha”-type responses), capped off with an inane statement that the Lakers hardly ever win. Should they be better? Certainly. Is being above .500 “hardly ever” winning? Not be a wide margin. This is way in excess of hyperbole. Sounds more like you merely have some kind of obsession with another poster to me…

      • bigrele - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        I assume you realize what a sore losing pathetic troll YOU most certainly are! As for my post everything I said in it was FACT! The Lakers are & have been overrated & overhyped all season long, they are one game above .500 in an 82 game season with about 10 more games to go before the season is over SO with that being said if your record is 37-36 then I would say YEAH! They hardly win games buddy boy, check the stats! Check the standings! They have no double digit win streaks this season much less a 5 game win streak so that begs to say they DO NOT win often; finally if you don’t like my posts then do freakin respond to em crybaby whining lil mama’s boy! Go do us all a favor & have a tall glass of STFU why don’t ya

  13. aboogy123456 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    It’s time to give devin ebanks some minutes. With Metta out, the lakers desperately need another wing defender. Their rotation is now too short and they look tired and worn out.

  14. bougin89 - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Larry Sanders should get the most improved player award. Especially considering where he was at 2 years ago. He was as raw as they come as a rookie, he could barely catch a pass thrown right at him. Now he is slowly becoming one of the best centers in the east.

    And he has the best ejection reaction ever.

  15. loungefly74 - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    not the time for the Lakers to “hit the wall”…again…

  16. yousuxxors - Mar 29, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    d12 can’t stop every guard who comes into the paint untouched … Kobe Nash can’t play d and somehow gets blamed on Howard.

  17. paulhargis53 - Mar 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Turn out the lights, the party’s over…..on the lakers season.

    In other news, dirtydavis is giving it to lakerluver in the keister for Easter.

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