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Lakers vs. Jazz for eighth spot in West… it won’t be easy for L.A.

Apr 9, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap AP

Such is the depth of the hole the Lakers have dug themselves — even in the sprint to the finish to get the eighth and final playoff spot in the West Los Angeles does not control its own destiny.

Utah is the team in the driver’s seat. Win out their remaining four games and the Jazz head to the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how many points Kobe Bryant scores or how fast Metta World Peace comes back from injury, if the Jazz win out the Lakers can do no better than tie and Utah has the tie breaker (they won the season series).

The Lakers still have a chance, but they likely need to go at least 4-1 in their last five to get there. They may need to win out. And their schedule is anything but easy.

Here is where things stand Tuesday morning — Utah is 41-37, half-a-game ahead of the Lakers at 40-37.

The Lakers have five games left:

vs. Hornets: (Tuesday night)
at Blazers (Wednesday night)
vs. Warriors
vs. Spurs
vs. Rockets

Utah has four games remaining:

vs. Thunder
vs. Timberwolves
at Timberwolves
at Grizzlies

Looking at Utah’s schedule, they should at least go 2-2. The Thunder, still in the chase for the top spot in the West, likely play their stars against the Jazz Wednesday (plus the Thunder likely are playing angry after a loss to the Knicks). The Jazz have taken both games this season they played against the injury ravaged Timberwolves. Then there is the last game — Memphis is a better team than Utah, it’s tough to say who Memphis will roll out there on the last night of the season. If the Grizzlies don’t have anything to play for they could rest guys, helping out the Jazz.

If Utah goes 2-2, the Lakers must go 4-1. If Utah goes 3-1 (and they had some big road wins recently, such as at Golden State) the Lakers have to win out.

Predicting what games the Lakers should win this season has been about as easy as predicting the next thing Dennis Rodman will do because the Lakers inconsistent defense means anyone can beat them on any night.

That said, they should beat the Hornets at home Tuesday night. Wednesday should be interesting — the Blazers are slumping badly right now but the Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back against a team that will be up to play spoiler. You know their fans will be. That could be a deciding game for the Lakers — it’s must win but Portland will not make it easy.

Golden State and the Rockets have the kind of offenses that can shred the Lakers defense for a night, but they are also games that the Lakers can win if they get some defense on the perimeter and efficient scoring from Kobe Bryant (and if he gets some help from Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol).

Then there is the Spurs game. Gregg Popovich is resting guys down the stretch, but if the Spurs are still the top seed in the West at that point and beating the Lakers would mean Utah rather than Los Angeles in the first round, could the Spurs bring back the big guns for a game? Even if it’s the Spurs subs, they still run their system well and beat teams they shouldn’t.

There’s a lot of “ifs” in the scenario (especially for two teams that look like they will just get crushed in the first round by San Antonio or OKC) but for the players it’s much more straight forward — for Utah, win and you’re in; for Los Angeles, win then head to your local church to light a candle.

  1. cakemixa - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    The Pelicans blew an 18 point 4th quarter lead against the Lakers last time… it won’t happen again tonight!

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      yea because the lakers will play 4 desperate quarters tonight and blow them out.

      • bigrele - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Yeah sure they will, just like they blew out the lowly Wizards & even worse the Orlando Magic in Staples for 4 desperate quarters too huh? Ha! lol, keep dreaming boogalu

      • bozosforall - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        The Wiz are hardly “lowly” since getting Wall back from injury. Give them Beal back and they can play with 2/3s of the NBA.

      • bigrele - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        I like how the Lakers played 4 desperate quarters last night & blew out the Hornets, wow! How impressive lol!

  2. herlies - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Lord Stern and his legion of officials have it covered, don’t worry Lakers “fans”

    • bozosforall - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:34 PM

      Stern rescinding the Chris Paul deal debunks your lame conspiracy theory.

  3. jimsjam33 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Didn’t World Peace say the Lakers would win 72 games this season ? Teams that wait untl the final 5 games in the regular season to get into the playoffs are in a fantasy land .

    • whitey11177 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      He was right. Then he turned off his Xbox and went to bed.

      • badintent - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        Funny. ! But true .

  4. spthegr8 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Being a Laker fan I understand that we have had ALOT of obstacles too over come this season. With that being said, it is F’N ridiculous that we are in this situation. Fighting for the 8th spot with the Jazz…Really???? Really??? I’m just being real when I say this but, I would just as soon not make the playoffs, then get in just too say we got in & get slaughtered in the 1st rd. & l get it. If you get in the playoffs then anything can happen. I get it. But let’s be REAL here laker fans. What would lead ANY of us too think that we can beat the Spurs or the Thunder in a 7 game series???? I been SEARCHING for reason’s that we can and NONE of them are realistic. I hate too be a downer but I’m just being real. Lets just get this season over with. Cuz BEST case scenario is a 1st rd exit. Some of you might not agree with me and if you don’t. Your just kidding yourself!! I’m Just Saying!!!!

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      I agree with most of what you say but I do want them to make the playoffs. What makes me think that they have a chance? Well, before the season started I thought they could beat those teams, and when the playoffs start they will be healthy for the first time this whole season. I want to see what this team can do when they are at full strength. Also, the spurs may not have manu or parker for the first round. If that’s the case, I think the lakers would be heavily favored.

      • spthegr8 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Yeah it would be REALLY nice too see everyone healthy FINALLY!!! But even @ 100% we are gna have the same problem. Our D…….. F’N SUCKS!!! We can’t stop anybody and @ times it looks like they aren’t really trying too stay true too any of the defensive components that matter. Talking on D, helping your team mate out, rotations ( & out defensive rotations are the worst in the league ) etc. I’m under the impression that if they haven’t got it yet. Then they aren’t going too get it!! & our coach isn’t exactly a defensive Guru… SMH!!!

      • bigrele - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        Its ridiculous that this fool keeps repeating the same nonsensical point about “I wanna see what this team can do at full strength”, like spthegr8 said: it ain’t gonna matter at full strength the fact is this team is hot garbage at full strength or not, get over it! Your point guard play is garbage, your bench play is garbage, your team defense is garbage & most of the reason your team sucks is because their too old & too damn slow; most of the premier top contending teams in the West & East are athletic & have a good mixture of youth in the starting rotation, YOUR team doesnt! Kobe – at end of his career, Gasol – old & slow, Nash – old, slow & no defense, Metta – old, slow & no longer the defensive prowess he once possessed, Dwight – back injury & will never be 100% this season. That’s your starting lineup & you still post the same useless drivel, pitiful! lol

      • bozosforall - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:30 PM

        Who’s your team, bigfaake? In other words, what is the most recent bandwagon that you have jumped on, laker hater?

      • bigrele - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        What do you care who my team is bozotheclown? What business is it of yours? To be honest I don’t have nor do I claim a “team” I just like watching the NBA & the NFL especially come playoff time, I could give a rat’s a** who wins in the end as long as its not the Cowboys, Lakers or Patriots; I root for any team that plays these 3 teams, anymore questions fatboy?

    • adoombray - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      You really want to not make the playoffs and give Phoenix the first round pick (which becomes good if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs)? you really don’t want to give your team a shot against OKC? there is some serious rivalry there, you should want your team to take the shot just to bloody their nose.

      I know your team is Hollywood, but stop being so dramatic. NBA fans are the only fans in all of sports that spend most of their time hoping their team will NOT win. There are fanbases out there who would love to be able to buy playoff tickets even to watch a sweep, stop sounding so spoiled by success ; that’s the number one reason every other teams hates you guys.

      I feel like Herm Edwards…. “YOU PLAY… TO WIN…. THE GAME”

      • spthegr8 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        Good for those fan bases. Go post your non sense on a wizards post. A team that is happy too just make it. You take all those silver linings and shove them up ur A$$!!!. It’s not called hoping their teams lose. It’s called reality. Feel free too join the rest of us there anytime now!! Cuz the HARSH reality is, we are a .500 ball club & that don’t win championships!! & in L.a, that’s what counts!!!

        P.S. I have said once & ill say it again. I like ALOT of Laker fans…..COULD CARE LESS IF YOU LIKE US!!!! If I can’t have your love, then I’ll take your hate!!!

      • adoombray - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        so…. it’s called reality that you want your team to give away its first round pick to one of its biggest rivals who already is drafting high on their own picks? The reality is because the Lakers are not a championship team you want them to lose and help rebuild the Suns? Because championships are what counts, you don’t even want to make the playoffs – which is 100% the only way you can possibly win a championship?

        I don’t think that word is “reality”. I’m gonna be nice and go with a word like “counterproductive”.

        With everything you guys gave up for Nash and Howard you guys have a really small window of opportunity here between Kobe/Nash and (if you’re lucky) the nebulous future where Howard is the only good player on the roster surrounded by scrubs because “championships are what count” and the team couldnt make the playoffs so it gave up its first round picks.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        I agree with adoom. The Lakers do not hold the rights to their own pick so there is no advantage in missing the playoffs. You always play to win, I know for sure Kobe wants to make the playoffs. If they do make it, even with all that has gone on here, they might have a chance. The playoffs are a different season, so who nkows.

      • bigrele - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        Wow, Laker fans truly are a sad worthless bunch; crying ranting & raving on an internet message board over a stupid basketball team, ridiculous & childish! Sad by any & all measures, not one of you idiotic Laker lovers will or have ever gotten paid and/or a ring placed on ur damn finger so get a freaking grip already & get a life! Go horseback riding, go fishing (all of you will soon including the Lakers lol), go hiking; better yet get a job! Life don’t end cause your beloved Lakers SUCK! The NBA is MUCH more than the Los Angeles Lakers & their spoiled rotten brat incessant whining fans, trust me on that so continue to embarrass yourself by crying & whining on message boards over your preseason supposed 72 win team while the rest of us continue laughing our a** off at your pitiful worthless drivel lol

  5. bucrightoff - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    It’s all about tonight. If Utah wins and the Lakers lose then its over, no shot Utah loses their final three with two against the Wolves. Also you know Golden State and the Spurs would love to dagger the Lakers season.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      I’m really not too worried about the suns getting a first round draft pick. Draft picks aren’t what they use too be and the suns……. SUCK!! You are right about that small window we have and it only getting closer too being closed!! & again, I know the playoffs are a new season. But do you think the basketball fairy came with some magic pixie dust and just sprinkled it into the air & now our defensive issue are just gone??? I wish she could but I wouldn’t bet on it!!

  6. HotHotHeat - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Does Howard stay or go? Missing the playoffs can’t help the situation can it????

    • badintent - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      “If I stay it will be trouble”
      If I go it will be double”
      “So come on and let me know”
      “Should I stayor should I go ?”

      Dwight Howard and the Clash

  7. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Its over, the run is over. Pau’s trade value is at all time low, you aren’t getting anything of value for him. Put away your idiotic sign and trade scenarios.

    This is basically they same flawed team you will be stuck with next year, just another year older…..

    Life after Kobe is going to really suck for you lakers fans….but you just go on telling yourself its going to be wine and roses.
    I hope you get Josh Smith to pair up with Dwight( if he even stays). That would be a horrendous pairing.

    • bozosforall - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      Too bad that both the Jazz and Lakers don’t play in the Leastern Conference. Then the Celstinks would be the ones out in the cold. And at least the Lakers had a “run” (aka FIVE titles in this century alone)…as opposed to that one-and-done gift that the Celstinks got within the last quarter century.

    • omniusprime - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      We all know that it’s all over if it were the Decrepit Celtics who had to do what the Lakers will do by beating the Jazz getting into the playoffs. We all know that Sergeant Sad Sack and The Lie would roll over and play dead if they had to work so hard at the end of the season to earn a playoff spot. Nope the Decrepit Celtics have it easy in the Eastern Cream Puff Conference getting into the playoffs with all those garbage teams.

      Actually life after Kobe will be just fine for us Laker fans, we have Dwight Howard as our next huge superstar. Too bad your Decrepit Celtics don’t have any super replacement for Sergeant Sad Sack and The Lie, the Decrepit Celtics will be the next Bobcats or Cadavers bottom dweller.

      Hey and Pauline Haggis how about the Lakers having a better record than your Pathetic Celtics? For all the injury adversity the Lakers faced and the incompetent coaches the Lakers still have a better record than your underperforming Celtics.

      Yeah Sergeant Sad Sack could barely score 10 points last night losing to the lowly Nets while Kobe dropped 47. Kobe even outscored both Sergeant Sad Sack and The Lie combined last night, just how over the hill is your ancient team of perennial losers?

      Kobe Rules!!! Sergeant Sad Sack Stinks!!!

  8. sellahh - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    When you lose against Phoenix (on the road, like that meant something) and Washington at home when battling for 8th spot with less than 15 games left… I don’t even. Miserable season for a Laker fan like me.

  9. asimonetti88 - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    This honestly has been the most disappointing season I can remember. Even if the Lakers move on to the playoffs, you have be looking at next season. I really hope the Lakers can add to the bench because we saw this year the need for more depth with injuries. Otherwise all you can really hope for is for Dwight to come back healthy and maybe turn Pau into something via trade (personally I want them to keep him but he is the only value piece they are willing to trade). It has been a tough year for sports fans in LA with local teams underperforming and in many cases just flat out sucking.

  10. kb2408 - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Speaking of “sucking”, leave it up to the resident genius of PBT to shed some light on the Lakers future.
    @ph53, if Laker fans want your opinion, we’ll give it to you. I’ve been reading your crappy comments for awhile now and a few things are apparent:
    A. you’re a Lakers troll
    B. you’re a stalker and infatuated with lakerluver
    C. you’re a dolt and you actually “think” you have some kind of inside info that the Lakers brass doesn’t. I’m sure they know Kobe won’t play forever. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the last three decades. Championships are all that matter, luxury taxes be damned.

  11. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    kb: Glad you’re a fan of my work. You must be, you’ve been reading it awhile now.
    A. You are correct sir. I detest your fanbase.
    B. I’m not a stalker. I post on laker articles, if LL posts, I will say something about him, he’s earned his verbal whuppings. It’d be pointless to be infatuated with him. He loves large sweaty black men. I like females.
    C. As I try to keep telling you toolboxes, its not just the luxury tax!!! If they continue to go past the tax in consecutive years, they lose the right to do sign and trades and things of that nature!!
    The CBA is out there for you to read, to continue to be willfully ignorant of the ramifications, is quite inane on your part.
    Its not the status quo in the nba anymore.
    You just keep thinking the lakers can just spend, spend, spend. You’re in for a bug suprise. Why do you think Harden wound up in Houston, or Gay in Toronto? To avoid the luxury tax and its consecutive repeater penalties in the years to come!!
    You are dumber than a bag of hammers.

    • omniusprime - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      Just because your deadbeat celtics are a poor team which can’t spend like our Lakers don’t be so jealous little Pauline Haggis. We all know that you disparage the Lakers to distract yourself from the fact that your pathetic celtics have a worse record playing in the wimp conference.

      So funny seeing the pathetic nonsense you write everyday, obviously you have something brown and stinky for brains. You’re just a sore loser rooting for a dying franchise who has to live on the past glory of the 60’s. I’d be grumpy too if I were a despicable celtic’s fan.

      Lakers Rule!!! Celtics Stink!!!

    • bigrele - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Large sweaty “black” men? Why couldn’t it be large sweaty “white” men? Or just large sweaty men? So large sweaty black men are worse than large sweaty white men hargis?

  12. omniusprime - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    So far so good, the Lakers are ahead of the Jazz with only three games remaining.

    • bigrele - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      So far so good your team has had to struggle & produce super max efforts to defeat the worst teams in the western conference just so they can secure the 8th & final playoff spot in the west? So far so good that ur looking forward to seeing your team embarrassingly smacked outta the 1st round, um ok lmao! Bottom line is regardless whether the Jazz were off last night the Lakers are a half game ahead, that’s it! If the Jazz win out (which they probably will) & the Lakers win out it’ll be a half game, if the Jazz win out & the Lakers lose 1 more game then their OUT! So there it is, so far so good; ha!

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