The Los Angeles Lakers are going to make the playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder may as well get used to it. It is a done deal. But wait, the Lakers are still under .500. They went out and laid an egg against the Denver Nuggets when they finally had a chance to get to .500. They certainly did not look like a team headed for the playoffs.
This is why the Lakers will make the playoffs. The Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are both folding. The Lakers only need on of them to fold. The Jazz has lost three in a row, two of them at home. They will host the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday, then head on the road for four games next week. Look for the Lakers to be able to gain more ground on them next week.
The Rockets have lost two in a row. Four of their next five games are also on the road. They are a young team and the pressure of being chased by Kobe Bryant could be too much for them.
The Lakers are still not the scary team most thought they would be, but they are getting better. They have won 11 of 16 and are only 2.5 games out of the eighth spot. They still have 24 games left to play. So if they keep winning at the rate they have the last 16 games, they will win up winnin16 to 17 of then 24 games they have left. That would put them at 44 to 45 wins which should put them right there with the Jazz and Rockets even if they play at their year-long pace. But odds are at least one of them will tank.
The Lakers making the playoffs is a near certainty. The only question remains is will they be the seventh seed or eighth seed. Will they play the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers don’t have enough to beat the Thunder, but the Spurs may be a different story. The Lakers and Spurs have history and much of that is in the Lakers favor.
The Lakers seem to struggle with young and fast team like Denver. That is not the Spurs. So if the Lakers play the Spurs as the eighth seed, they could very well make a run to the Western Conference Finals if they were to meet a team such as the Memphis Grizzlies.
But to answer the original question, the Lakers can make the playoffs and most likely will.