Skip to content

Jazz back in playoff picture, Lakers out with nine games left in the regular season

Mar 30, 2013, 2:00 PM EST

Kobe Bryant, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap

The Jazz came from 14 points down in the second half to get a big win in Portland on Friday, and by doing so, temporarily reclaimed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

The victory was significant, for multiple reasons.

It brought Utah’s record on the season to 37-36, which is identical to that of the Los Angeles Lakers. Since the Jazz hold the tie-breaker by virtue of winning the head-to-head season series over the Lakers, they now control their own destiny with just nine regular season games remaining.

No scoreboard watching is required in Utah the rest of the way — keep winning, and that final playoff spot is theirs.

In addition to reclaiming playoff position, the Jazz win was big for the team’s psyche. The Blazers aren’t great this season, obviously, but are 22-13 at home because Portland has always been one of the tougher places for visiting teams to play.

The Jazz have now won three straight, and the excitement is beginning to build.

Momentum can disappear as quickly as it is gained, but Utah’s remaining schedule is much more favorable down the stretch than that of a Lakers team which will be chasing the Jazz as much as it can.

Utah will play its next four games at home against Brooklyn, Portland, Denver, and New Orleans — all winnable games, even if the ones against the Nets and the Nuggets may be much tougher to get than the others.

The next two will both be big challenges for the Jazz, playing at Golden State and then at Oklahoma City. They wrap up the season with a home and home set with the Timberwolves, followed by a finale at Memphis.

Even if the Jazz do no better than 5-4 against their remaining slate of opponents, it still might be enough to hold off the Lakers.

L.A. plays at Sacramento on Saturday, where the Kings always seem to find a way to have a little something extra ready for those home games against the Lakers.

Next up is a home contest against a surging Mavericks team, followed by games against Memphis, at the Clippers, and against the Hornets. After a trip to Portland, the Lakers will finish the season at home for the final three games, but the opponents are all playoff teams — Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston.

It’s tough to predict which of those games the Lakers might be able to get, but remember, with the Jazz holding that tie-breaker, L.A. needs to win one more than Utah the rest of the way to get into the postseason.

If Utah manages to go 5-4 to finish the season, the Lakers would need to finish 6-3 (or better) to knock the Jazz from that playoff spot. With the quality of teams L.A. has to face over the final nine games of the season, it’s difficult to envision.

Latest Posts
  1. How Nicki Minaj helped John Wall become an All-Star starter

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    106 & Park Getty Images

    She tweeted out a vote for him, and she has 18.8 million followers.

  2. Kevin Durant to miss Thunder-Timberwolves game with sprained big toe

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:11 PM EST

    kevin Durant kevin Durant

    Durant suffered the injury on Sunday in Cleveland.

  3. PBT Extra: Who should be the All-Star Game reserves?

    Jan 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    James Harden, Jeremy Lin AP

    Will Steve Kerr start Klay Thompson or James Harden?

  4. Report: Kobe Bryant “definitively coming back to play next season”

    Jan 26, 2015, 6:43 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Did you really think Kobe Bryant was going to leave the game on anything but his own terms?

  5. Kobe Bryant to have surgery on shoulder, is done for season

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:37 PM EST

    Kobe Bryant AP

    He should be back for the start of next season.

  6. PBT’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks continue to fly high

    Jan 26, 2015, 2:38 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptnmmtzkyjjhzgm1zdzlogjiyza4mgjimdhiyjc2mjcy AP

    It’s Hawks and Warriors and everyone else. Just as its been for a while now.

  7. Kobe Bryant wanted to sign with Michael Jordan’s Wizards

    Jan 26, 2015, 2:04 PM EST

    Kobe Bryant with Michael Jordan Getty Images

    After Washington pushed out Jordan, Kobe re-signed with Lakers

Featured video

Stephen Curry leads NBA MVP race mid-season
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (7861)
  2. L. Aldridge (7268)
  3. H. Whiteside (7111)
  4. R. Rubio (6511)
  5. K. Martin (6347)
  1. K. Walker (6170)
  2. N. Batum (5976)
  3. J. Noah (5913)
  4. C. Anthony (5885)
  5. T. Jones (5539)