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Latest Odds Surrounding LA Lakers' Playoff Hopes

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJuly 25, 2016

Latest Odds Surrounding LA Lakers' Playoff Hopes

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    It took a full 82 games for them to clinch their berth, but the Los Angeles Lakers are going to the 2013 NBA Playoffs!

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Apr. 18 at 1:55 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    It took 82 games, but the Los Angeles Lakers have finally clinched a berth in the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs. With the Utah Jazz losing to the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 86-70, the Lakers earned at least the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

    The Lakers capitalized on this opportunity by defeating the Houston Rockets 99-95 in overtime to capture the seventh seed in the West.

    Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard led the charge, playing at the level analysts and fans expected of them entering this season. Gasol tallied a triple-double with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists, while D-12 tallied 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

    Together, the Lakers dominant duo set up a first round matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Apr. 17 at 4:57 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    On the final day of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are in control of their own destiny. They're 44-37 overall, one game ahead of the Utah Jazz and on the losing end of the tiebreak for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

    For the Lakers, it's win and you're in.

    It won't be easy, as L.A. will be forced to play the high-powered Houston Rockets without both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant is out for the season with a torn achilles tendon, while Nash is nursing a hamstring injury.

    It's all on the line tonight at the Staples Center.

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, March 28 at 10:26 p.m. ET by Joseph Zucker

    The Los Angeles Lakers continued to sputter on the road after their 113-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

    This was the Lakers' second game without Metta World Peace. He's set to miss at least six weeks with a torn meniscus (h/t ESPN.com). His absence was really felt on the defensive end of the floor.

    Los Angeles surrendered 30 points on the break and 54 points in the post. Each one of the Bucks' starters recorded 16 or more points.

    Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard did everything they could. Bryant scored 30 points, while Howard recorded a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

    The loss means the Lakers are just barely hovering above .500 at 37-36. More importantly, their hold on the eighth spot in the Western Conference continues to dwindle. L.A. is just .5 games ahead of the Utah Jazz.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Monday, March 25 at 1:17 a.m. EDT by Maxwell Ogden

    In one of their most disappointing outings of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers lost, 109-103, to the Golden State Warriors. Don't let the final score fool you, though, as the Warriors absolutely decimated the Lakers.

    At the end of three, Golden State was leading 94-76.

    Even as Kobe Bryant led a late-game push, the Lakers fell short of pulling off the comeback. Missed free throws and non-existent defense led to L.A.'s eventual demise.

    With an opportunity to close ground on the sixth-seed Warriors, the Lakers came out flat and paid the price.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, March 23 at 2:35 a.m. EDT by Mike Hoag

    The Lakers dropped a disappointing loss at the Staples Center to the 25-43 Washington Wizards. The Wiz have been playing some good basketball as of late, though, with the return of John Wall to the lineup. They have won five of their last six games.

    That loss is the second-straight for the Lake Show and comes upon the return of both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to the lineup.

    Bryant scored 21 points and had 11 assists while Gasol scored just four points and grabbed eight rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Dwight Howard scored 20 points and hauled in 15 rebounds, continuing his solid stretch of play, despite the return of Gasol to the lineup.

    Utah has closed to just 1.5 games behind them, despite winning only two of its last eight games.

    Dallas is the hottest team currently chasing the Lakers, winning seven of their last ten matchups.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Monday, March 18 at 2:20 p.m. EDT by Maxwell Ogden

    The Los Angeles Lakers tightened their grip on a playoff spot, defeating the Sacramento Kings by a score of 113-102 on Mar. 17. They're now 36-32 overall and 23-11 at home.

    More importantly, they're a full game ahead of Utah and just .5 behind the Houston Rockets.

    Antawn Jamison led all scorers with 27 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Metta World Peace chipped in 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash tallied double-doubles.

    Steve Blake finished with 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a steal with four three-point field goals. L.A.'s two-man bench stepped up big on a night in which the Lakers needed everything they had.

    Kobe Bryant was absent due to the flu and an ankle injury. 

    ---End of update---


    UPDATE: Saturday, March 16, at 2:25 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers pulled off an upset victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, 99-93.

    It was an upset not only because the Pacers have been the better team this season, but also because Bryant was only able to play 12 minutes thanks to injury and he didn't score a single point.

    Steve Blake helped pick up the slack after scoring 18 points to go along with seven assists, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Dwight Howard led the Lakers with 20 points and 12 boards, while Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash all scored in double-figures.

    However, it isn't looking good for Bryant's ankle after this game and it remains to be seen how much he can contribute moving forward.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, March 14, at 2:24 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers had a great chance to improve their record against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night as the Hawks were shorthanded, but instead L.A. lost, 96-92.

    Bryant led the way for Los Angeles with 31 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but that wasn't the real story here as Bryant rolled his ankle and looked to be in serious pain.

    Dwight Howard added 10 points and 16 boards in the losing effort.

    It isn't known yet how serious Kobe's injury is, but this team certainly can't afford to lose him for any period of time.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Mar. 13, at 1:23 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    Dwight Howard returned to his old stomping grounds for the first time since being traded from Orlando and he rose to the occasion as the Lakers topped the Magic, 106-97.

    Howard took enough free throws for a whole team as he went 25-for-39 from the line and finished with 39 points and 16 rebounds in his homecoming. Bryant only mustered up 11 points, but he did add eight assists and seven rebounds.

    With the win, the Lakers are now three games over the .500-mark for the first time this season and find themselves well within striking distance for the No. 7 and No. 6 seeds.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Mar. 10, at 7:02 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    On Mar. 6, Kobe Bryant put up 42 points and 12 assists in an epic comeback victory. On Mar. 8, Bryant posted 41 points and 12 assists in another comeback overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors.

    On Mar. 10, the win was a little more comfortable.

    Dwight Howard scored 16 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and swatted four shots to lead L.A. to a 90-81 win over the Chicago Bulls. Bryant added 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, while Steve Nash dropped 16 points of his own.

    The Lakers are now 33-31 and in sole possession of eighth in the Western Conference.

    If the season ended today, the Lakers would be in the playoffs.

    --End of Update--

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Mar. 6, at 11:20 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

    An inspired performance is exactly what Kobe Bryant delivered against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday as he led the Lakers on an incredible comeback en route to a 108-102 victory. 

    He finished the game with 42 points and 12 assists, with 18 of his points coming in the fourth quarter. 

    The Lakers scored 33 points as a team in the final 12 minutes, while holding the Hornets to just nine. The team is now 31-31 after negating a 25-point deficit, and will need to build on this emotional win to continue moving closer to a playoff spot. 

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Mar. 6, at 1:37 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers efforts to get above .500 were thwarted by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night as Los Angeles dropped its game with OKC, 122-105.

    Bryant left the game in the first quarter with an injury, but he quickly returned and scored 30 points in the losing effort. Dwight Howard did grab 16 boards in the contest, but he only scored six points.

    The biggest problem for L.A. (besides defense) was the 16 turnovers they coughed up, which was eye-popping next to the Thunder's two total turnovers. It's hard enough to beat OKC, but it's even tougher when a team is careless with the rock.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Monday, Mar. 4, at 12:28 a.m. ET by Tim Keeney

    Bryant dropped in the game-winning layup with nine seconds remaining to bury the Atlanta Hawks, 99-98, on Sunday night. 

    The Black Mamba finished with 34 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Dwight Howard (11 points, 15 rebounds) and Steve Nash (15 points, 10 assists) chipped in double-doubles.

    Los Angeles (30-30) is now back to .500 for the first time since late December and remains just 2.5 games behind the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. 

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Friday, Mar. 1, at 1:16 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers took care of business on Thursday night by disposing of the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, 116-94.

    Bryant led all scorers with 33 points, and he added five rebounds, five assists and two steals in the winning effort. Dwight Howard notched a double-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while Antawn Jamison gave L.A. a huge boost off the bench with 17 points and eight boards.

    With the win, the Lakers are now just two games behind the Houston Rockets for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

    ---End of update--

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 24 at 6:26 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    In a battle of legends, Kobe Bryant outlasted Dirk Nowitzki to down the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 103-99.

    Bryant put together his second consecutive efficiently dominant scoring outburst, dropping 38 on 15-of-23 shooting. He also tallied 12 rebounds and seven assists, which was complemented by Steve Nash's 20 points.

    L.A. has now won 11 of 15 and is just one game below .500 at 28-29.

    --End of Update--

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 23, at 1:21 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    It wasn't pretty, but the Lakers pulled out a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, 111-107.

    Bryant went back to his high-scoring ways after dropping 40 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Dwight Howard also had a great game with 19 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks.

    Los Angeles has now won its first two games since the All-Star break and are just two games under .500.

    ---End of update---

     

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 21 at 1:52 a.m. ET by Ethan Grant

    After beating the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, the Lakers move to 26-29, but won't pick up a game in the standings after the Houston Rockets disposed of the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier in the evening.  

    Dwight Howard finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash combined for 30 points and 14 assists in the 113-99 win.

    Using an emotional surge from both the rest accumulated from the All-Star break and the death of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, the Lakers managed to play some impressive team ball and got a big effort from Howard to start the second half of the season off right.

     

    UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 15, at 1:34 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers will head into the All-Star break in just about the worst way possible. The Clippers easily disposed of the Lakers, 125-101 at the Staples Center on Thursday night.

    Bryant posted a double-double in the losing effort with 20 points and 11 assists to go along with five rebounds. Howard just missed his own double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds.

    The Lakers did shoot 50 percent from the field, but their defense once again let them down as the Clippers shot 51 percent from the field and 53 percent from long range.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 2:18 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After an abysmal nine-point third quarter, the Lakers came on strong in the fourth and beat the Suns, 91-85.

    Los Angeles had five players in double figures, but amazingly enough Kobe Bryant wasn't one of them. The Black Mamba finished with just four points on eight total shots, while adding nine assists and five rebounds.

    Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison led all scorers with 19 points and D12 also grabbed 18 boards. Metta World Peace chipped in with 17 points of his own and Steven Nash added 10 points and eight assists.

    So far, so good for L.A.'s long-awaited homecoming.

    ---End of update---

     

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 10 at 7:25 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg

    The Lakers stuck with the Miami Heat for three quarters, but LeBron James and company pulled away late to win 107-97.

    Kobe Bryant led the way with 28 points on 11-of-19 from the floor. He also had nine assists and six rebounds on the day.

    Earl Clark also had an impressive performance with 18 points and nine rebounds. However, it was not enough to overcome 62 combined points from James and Dwyane Wade

    This was the second loss for Los Angeles in three games and the team finished 4-3 on the seven-game road trip.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1:34 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After trailing in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were able to mount a comeback and beat the Charlotte Bobcats, 100-93.

    Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Steve Nash and Earl Clark added 17 points apiece, while Nash had seven dimes and Clark grabbed 10 boards.

    Dwight Howard and his injured shoulder contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds in the winning effort.

    L.A. now has just one game left on the road before finally returning home to the Staples Center.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 7, at 10:44 p.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers were absolutely crushed by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, 116-95. The Celtics, of course, were without both Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger in this game, which no doubt makes this loss even worse.

    Meanwhile, the Lakers had Dwight Howard on the floor against the Celtics and the Lakers big man contributed with nine points and nine rebounds. D12 had missed the team's last three games with a shoulder injury and was called out by Kobe Bryant as a result, per ESPN.com staff:

    "We don't have time for (Howard's shoulder) to heal," Bryant said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan. "We need some urgency."

    Kobe Bryant gave another valiant effort in the loss after scoring 27 points and grabbing seven boards.

    The loss snapped the Lakers' three-game winning streak.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 10:39 p.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers enjoyed their third win in a row after dropping the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, 92-83. This win was especially huge because it was over a quality opponent.

    Another reason why it was so big is because the team was without both Dwight Howard (injury) and Metta World Peace (suspension). Despite those missing players, the Lakers still played some great defense in this game.

    Bryant led the way with 21 points, but also added eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block for another sensational all-around performance. Steve Nash also pitched in with 17 points and eight assists.

    Los Angeles has been dreadful on the road all season long, but this is now the team's third straight win away from home. The Lakers improved their road record to 8-16, as well as 23-26 overall.

    ---End of update---

     

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb 3, at 5:07 p.m. ET by Brian Mazique

    The Lakers continue to make a push at getting into the top eight in the Western Conference standings. They eeked out a 98-97 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. 

    Playing without the injured Dwight Howard again, Pau Gasol stepped up big time with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

    Kobe Bryant had a decent game with 18 points and five assists, and he converted a crucial three-point play with 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.

    The win was important because they played without Howard, but also because it was a rare road victory.

    The Lakers improved to 22-26 on the year, and just 7-16 away from home.

    ---End of Update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 12:42 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After a downright dreadful loss to the lowly Suns, the Lakers bounced back on Friday night with a 111-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    While defense was certainly lacking, there were some other positive signs for Los Angeles in this game.

    Pau Gasol was re-inserted into the starting lineup and responded immediately with a double-double, scoring 22 points and adding 12 boards in what was one of his best games of the season.

    Kobe Bryant continues to flash his all-around prowess and added 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

    Dwight Howard did not take the floor in this game as he is resting his sore shoulder.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 31, at 1:26 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    Los Angeles got another solid all-around effort from Kobe Bryant (17 points, nine assists and five rebounds), but it wasn't enough as the Lakers dropped their Wednesday night matchup with the Phoenix Suns, 92-86.

    The Lakers looked to be rolling in the fourth quarter after staking themselves to a 13-point lead, but an 8-0 Phoenix run and a breakdown on both ends of the floor for Los Angeles proved to be the difference.

    Michael Beasley was the major catalyst for the Suns down the stretch and finished with 27 points in the winning effort.

    More bad news for Los Angeles as Dwight Howard reinjured his shoulder while trying to put back a rebound and the big man never returned after the early fourth quarter exit.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 1:03 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers have now won three games in a row as Kobe continues to be the type of all-around player this team clearly needs him to be.

    Bryant scored just 14 points, but his monumental contributions of 11 assists and eight rebounds were a major difference in the team's 111-106 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

    Dwight Howard was a factor on the offensive end, dropping 24 points for Los Angeles, while Earl Clark had a career night with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

    Bryant has now compiled an astounding 39 assists in his last three games—all Laker wins—and an obvious theme continues to build in Hollywood: when Kobe shares the ball, the Lakers win games.

    With his everlasting desire to win, I'd say Kobe keeps this up until it stops working.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 27, at 6:59 p.m. ET by Brian Mazique

    It seems Kobe finally gets it. He has to sacrifice on the offensive end to make his team play hard on both ends of the floor.

    We shouldn't overreact to the Lakers' second-straight win—a 105-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder—but it undoubtedly has them headed in the right direction.

    Kobe played facilitator for the second-straight game. He had 21 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists for the second game in a row. 

    The Lakers are still six games under .500, but their effort in the last two games has been their best of the season.

    If this trend continues and the Lakers make the playoffs, the Mamba may be in line for his second MVP award.

    ---End of update---


    UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1:20 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    Los Angeles desperately needed a win after losing its last four games and got that win against the Utah Jazz, 102-84.

    The Lakers got a great all-around effort from each one of their superstars, but Kobe Bryant had a magnificent game in which he did just about everything for his team. Kobe had 14 points, nine rebounds and an astonishing 14 assists in the win.

    More importantly, Dwight Howard actually looked engaged in this game, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both added 15 points.

    ---End of update---

     

    The Lakers continue to struggle this season and their latest loss came at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-93. It was the fourth consecutive contest the Lakers have lost and the downward spiral that is Los Angeles' season continues.

    Defense is the biggest problem for head coach Mike D'Antoni's squad this season, but the loss to Memphis showed Los Angeles is by no means solid on the offensive end either.

    Dwight Howard seemed to have a renewed sense of determination to turn things around after Wednesday's shootaround, per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, but that didn't materialize against the Grizzlies.

    D12 could only muster up two points and two rebounds in just 14 minutes of play, and the big man reinjured his shoulder in the process (Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times).

    It was just the latest in bad news for this Lakers team and while Howard hasn't made nearly enough of an impact this season, a long-term injury could be devastating to Los Angeles.

    Here's a look at the Lakers current situation, and what it's going to take in the second half to turn this thing around.

The Current Math

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    Los Angeles Lakers' W-L Record: 45-37

    First Round Series: vs. San Antonio Spurs

    Current Vegas Odds for Lakers: +3000 to win NBA championship

    Kobe Bryant Scoring Tracker: 27.3 PPG, 3rd in NBA

    Next Postseason Game:

    at San Antonio Spurs, Sunday, Apr. 21

    Note: All information accurate as of 4/18/13

     

    Full Western Conference Playoff Standings (as of 3/28/13)

    Western Conference W L PCT GB
    1 Oklahoma City Thunder 60 22 .732 -
    2 San Antonio Spurs 58 24 .707 2
    3 Denver Nuggets
    57 25 .695 3
    4 Los Angeles Clippers 56 26 .683 4
    5 Memphis Grizzlies 56 26 .683 4
    6 Golden State Warriors 47 35 .573 13
    7 Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 15
    8 Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 15
     9 Utah Jazz
    43 39 .524 17
    10 Dallas Mavericks
    41 41 .500 19
     11 Portland Trail Blazers
    33 49 .402 27
     12 Minnesota Timberwolves
    31 51 .378 29
     13 Sacramento Kings
    28 54 .341 32
     14 New Orleans Hornets 27 55 .329 33
     15 Phoenix Suns
    25 57 .305 35

     

    The Lakers have made the 2013 NBA Playoffs!

    Rockets GM Daryl Morey had an interesting spin on what its going to take to get to the playoffs on Twitter, and ESPN's Dave McMenamin gave Lakers fans the purple and gold spin:

    If Rockets GM is right, Lakers will have to go 26-15 at a minimum in 2nd half RT @dmorey I think playoffs will take 43-45 wins in West

    — Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 22, 2013

    For some perspective, since the 2006-07 season, the No. 8 seed has averaged 47.2 wins in the West, including a pair of 50-game winners in that span (stat excludes last year's lockout-shortened season).

    The Lakers failed to reach 47 wins, but they made it with 45.

Updated Outlook

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    For the outlook section, we'll focus on segments of the Los Angeles Lakers' remaining schedule. Upon making the playoffs, they are now in line to face the San Antonio Spurs!

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Apr. 18 at 2:14 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    Upon defeating the Houston Rockets by a score of 99-95, the Los Angeles Lakers have moved into seventh in the Western Conference. In turn, they have set up a potential series against the San Antonio Spurs.

    Although the Lakers may be sans Kobe Bryant, this is the rekindling of one of the NBA's greatest rivalries.

    The Spurs won two of the three regular season games against the Lakers in 2012-13. With that being said, the average margin of victory in the three outings was 3.3 points per contest.

    Prepare for what should be a phenomenal series.

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Apr. 17 at 5:57 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    The Los Angeles Lakers saw Metta World Peace return at an obscenely fast rate from a torn meniscus and then witnessed Kobe Bryant go down with a season-ending injury. With Steve Nash also sidelined, the Lakers simply cannot get a break when it comes to their health.

    That's all behind them now, however, as the Lakers enter must-win territory—most specifically, if they win, they're in the playoffs.

    The Lakers host the Houston Rockets tonight with the opportunity to not only clinch a postseason berth, but move into seventh in the West. This would create a first round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, while a loss would result in a series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    If the Utah Jazz win and the Lakers lose, however, L.A. is out of the playoffs.

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Mar. 28 at 10:55 p.m. ET by Joseph Zucker

    Prior to Metta World Peace's injury, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like a sure bet to make the playoffs. That's a little bit up in the air now. While it once was a matter of the Lakers fighting for the No. 7 or No. 6 spot, they are now left fighting for their playoff lives.

    Los Angeles had been a very thin team for much of the season, but losing World Peace is a crippling blow. He was playing much better this season compared to his production over the past couple of seasons.

    A road game with the Sacramento Kings should get the Lakers back on the winning horse. A home game with the Dallas Mavericks takes on added importance. Dallas is playing very well and is only 1.5 games back of the Lakers.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, Mar. 26 at 1:32 a.m. EDT by Maxwell Ogden

    The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance at the sixth-seed had they defeated the Golden State Warriors. They would have been 2.5 games behind the Warriors for that spot in the standings.

    Unfortunately, this win drops the Lakers to 4.5 games behind Golden State. They only have 11 games to catch the Warriors.

    As for their standing as a postseason team in general, the Lakers are a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for eighth. Utah does hold the tiebreaker over L.A., however, so the Lakers must win to remain in.

    The Lakers have three consecutive road games ahead of them.

    ---End of update---

     

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Mar. 23, at 2:25 a.m. EDT by Mike Hoag

    Friday's three-point loss to Washington is a big one. The Lakers got Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol back in the lineup for the first time in what seems like forever, only to lose to the Washington Wizards.

    Dwight Howard continued his hot streak, scoring 20 points and snagging 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough.

    If the Lakers don't survive this upcoming four-game road trip they could, yet again, find themselves in danger of missing the postseason.

    Those upcoming away matchups are favorable, though, as they'll square off with Golden State, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Monday, Mar. 18 at 5:10 p.m. EDT by Maxwell Ogden

    The Los Angeles Lakers kept up their winning ways, securing a 113-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Mar. 17. Antawn Jamison led the charge with 27 points, while Dwight Howard grabbed 17 rebounds and Steve Nash tacked on 12 assists.

    Kobe Bryant did not play due to an ankle injury and the flu.

    Up next is a road game against Nash's former team, the Phoenix Suns. The last time the Lakers played the Suns in Phoenix was Jan. 30.

    The Suns took that game and exacted a measure of revenge on Nash for joining the Lake Show. If the Lakers are to continue their postseason push, however, they need this W.

    L.A. is just .5 games behind the Houston Rockets for seventh in the Western Conference.

    ---End of update---


    UPDATE: Saturday, Mar. 16, at 2:42 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    With or without Kobe, the Lakers have a great chance to keep their winning ways rolling as they have two homes games against the Kings and Wizards with a road game against the Suns sprinkled in between.

    All three of those opponents are well below .500 and that should lead to a four-game winning streak for L.A., and that will leave the Lakers with their best mark of the 2012-13 season.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Mar. 14, at 2:36 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers dropped their first of two straight road games and will now travel to Indiana to take on the stingy Pacers and their elite defense.

    Indiana topped Los Angeles earlier in the year and this game will be much harder if Bryant isn't able to go.

    Thankfully for Los Angeles, with or without Kobe they should be able to bounce back because after playing against the Pacers, the Lakers will go up against Sacramento (home), Phoenix (away) and Washington (home).

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Mar. 13, at 1:40 a.m. EDT by Michael Moraitis

    L.A. is three games over .500 after its win over the Magic on Tuesday night, but that status is in jeopardy as the Lakers are facing two consecutive road games against tough opponents in the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers.

    The Lakers were able to top the Hawks by one point in the pair's first meeting, but the Pacers were a bit more successful after notching a two-point win over the Lakers earlier in the season. However, this is a much different team than what Indiana saw the first time around.

    Regardless, these will be two great measuring stick games for the Lakers before they return home once again.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, March 10, at 6:59 p.m. EDT by Maxwell Ogden

    On March 8, the Los Angeles Lakers won a 118-116 overtime thriller against the Toronto Raptors. Kobe Bryant anchored the victory with 41 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and two steals.

    On March 10, the Lakers defeated the Chicago Bulls by a score of 90-81. They're now 33-31 and two games above .500 for the first time this season.

    More importantly, the Lakers are in sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference.

    The Utah Jazz own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers, so L.A. can't afford to slow up. Their next game comes against at the Orlando Magic on March 12.

    A win there could go a long way towards securing a playoff spot.

    --End of Update--

     

    UPDATE: Friday, March 8, at 3:15 p.m. ET by Patrick Clarke

    The Lakers will have an opportunity to get above .500 for the first time since Nov. 20 on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors. Toronto won at Phoenix on Wednesday night, but before that had lost five straight games.

    Look for a rejuvenated L.A. team to come out with a sense of urgency at home on Friday night, as the Lakers will want to make it seven wins in their last nine games heading into this weekend's marquee showdown with the Chicago Bulls.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, March 6, at 11:20 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

    Now that L.A. is .500 again after its comeback win over the New Orleans Hornets, it will need to continue playing like it did in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game in order to overtake the Utah Jazz. 

    The Lakers have an excellent shot to have a winning record after their next game at home against the Toronto Raptors, who have struggled recently. Then, the team will face a tougher test against the Chicago Bulls. 

    Following the showdown with the Bulls, the team will start a three-game road stretch against the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers. Despite the positive performance against New Orleans, reaching the playoffs will still not be easy. 

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, March 6, at 1:52 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    Los Angeles has a great chance to return to .500 on Wednesday when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Hornets.

    From there, the Lakers will return home in the hopes of getting over the .500-mark with games against the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. The Raptors have been playing much better of late after acquiring Rudy Gay, and the Bulls play stellar defense that should make it tough for the Lakers to win.

    Granted, both of these opponents are dangerous, but the Lakers can win these next two and get into positive territory as far as their overall record is concerned.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Monday, March 4, at 12:43 a.m. ET by Tim Keeney

    The Lakers are at .500 for the first time in 2013, but it will be difficult to stay there, as a trip to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Tuesday night looms. 

    Kevin Durant and the Thunder are currently 43-16, 26-4 at home and winners of four of their last five. 

    It's going to take a major effort from the Lakers to pull off the win before they head to New Orleans to complete the back-to-back. 

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Friday, March 1, at 1:34 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers will get yet another crack at reaching the .500-mark for the first time in what seems like forever. This shouldn't be something to get excited about, but with the way the Lakers season has gone, we can make an exception.

    The road to .500 won't be an easy one, however, as Los Angeles will play host to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night. Atlanta is a solid team defensively and are on a four-game winning streak before they take on the Suns on Friday.

    After taking on the Hawks at the Staples Center, the Lakers will go back out on the road for two straight games.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 24, at 6:14 p.m. ET by Maxwell Ogden

    Earlier today, the Lakers managed to win 103-99 at the Dallas Mavericks. The Lake Show has now won three straight and are 11-4 during their past 15 games.

    There's no time to rest, as they play at the Denver Nuggets tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. ET. After that, it's two at home and two on the road.

    L.A. will have their hands full with the Nuggets as they push for .500—after that, it's two manageable games against the Minnesota TImberwolves and Atlanta Hawks.

    And then a road trip at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    --End of Update--

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 23, at 1:41 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After four straight games at home, it's back to the road for the Lakers.

    Los Angeles can really gain some steam in this stretch as they head to Dallas to take on the Mavericks, but then have a tough but winnable game against the Denver Nuggets.

    The Mavericks shoudn't present too much of a problem, however there's no question L.A. must bring its best defensive effort against Denver.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 22, at 2:10 a.m. ET by Ethan Grant

    The Lakers got things rolling on the right foot on Wednesday night.

    It's a positive step in the right direction, and something Mike D'Antoni will have to keep going if this club wants to have a shot at ousting Houston for that last spot in the Western Conference. Dwight Howard played maybe his best game of the season on Wednesday, and Kobe Bryant continued to dish out dimes in his new role.

    LA has a good shot to gain some cohesiveness and make a late push. Defense is still a concern, and always will be with D'Antoni as the coach, but the offense was clicking on Wednesday, and that's all LA can ask for these days.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 15, at 1:49 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    For a struggling team like the Lakers, the All-Star break could not have come at a better time. It'll be a great time for some serious soul searching for this talented but underachieving roster.

    After the break, L.A. will have two more home games against the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers, but then it's back on the road for two more games against the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets.

    This four-game stretch will be a great measuring stick as to where the Lakers stand against some of the mid-level to better teams in the league.

    It certainly isn't out of the question that the Lakers finish this four-game stint 3-1.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 2:37 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After winning their first game back at the Staples Center, the Lakers are clearly happy to be home.

    They have one more game before the All-Star break when they take on the Clippers. It will no doubt be a tough test for head coach Mike D'Antoni's team, but L.A. must start winning these games if it hopes to make a playoff push.

    When the break ends, the Lakers will host two more games before going back out on the road once again.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg

    After a seven-game Grammy road trip, the Lakers finally get to return home to the Staples Center where they are 15-10 this season.

    To make things even better, the next game is on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash's former team has the worst record in the Western Conference.

    As poor as the early part of the season has gone, the squad can still finish strong in the last two games before the All-Star break to get to 26-28. At that point, anything is possible. 

    ---End of Update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1:34 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers had their fare share of issues with the Bobcats on Friday night, but things aren't going to get any easier.

    Now, L.A. has to travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat on Sunday night. The Lakers dropped the pair's last meeting, 99-90, and are looking to return the favor this time around.

    This will be the last of seven consecutive road games for the Lakers and regardless of the result in Miami, L.A. will finish with a record above .500 for this brutal stretch.

    After that, it's home sweet home for the next four games.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 7, at 11:06 p.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After a disappointing loss to the Celtics, the Lakers will continue their tough road stretch in Charlotte against the Bobcats.

    In their last meeting back on Dec. 18, the Lakers barely squeezed out a one-point victory over the Bobcats. So, despite their terrible record, the Bobcats are not a team the Lakers can take lightly.

    This game with Charlotte will be the second to last road game for the Lakers before one more with the Miami Heat, followed by a return trip home to Hollywood to take on the Phoenix Suns.

    The end is finally in sight for this ridiculous seven-game road trip.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 10:54 p.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    Much to the surprise of everyone that has followed them this season, the Lakers continue to play better on the road after their latest win in Brooklyn.

    Coming up next will be a showdown with the Boston Celtics in what will be a tough test for this Laker team.

    If they can pull out that win, the Lakers will have a great shot at five in a row on the road with a game upcoming against the dreadful Charlotte Bobcats.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Sunday, Feb 3, at 5:20 p.m. ET by Brian Mazique

    Don't get caught up in the fact that the Lakers only won by one-point in Detroit. Winning on the road in the NBA is difficult, and these are games the Lakers weren't winning earlier in the season.

    This team is still a work in progress, but the improvements are undeniable.

    If they can get Howard back healthy for an extended time, they can still be dangerous.

    ---End of Update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 1:01 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    Now that the Lakers took care of business against the Timberwolves, they will travel to Detroit to take on the lowly Pistons who are 18-29 on the season.

    In an earlier meeting this year, the Lakers dismantled the Pistons, 108-79, so odds are this game is another victory for L.A.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 31, at 1:40 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After their road loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers still have six consecutive road games left before returning home and that doesn't bode well for a team that is 5-16 away from home this season.

    On the bright side, of those six straight road games they have to play, only two of the teams on the schedule (Miami and Brooklyn) are above .500.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 1:26 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    The Lakers have a huge opportunity to keep their current three-game winning streak going, quite possibly extending it to six.

    The final game in the month of January will be a road game against the Phoenix Suns, who currently sit in the cellar of the Western Conference. In their last meeting, Los Angeles topped Phoenix, 114-112, so it's reasonable to assume the "new" Lakers will fare even better than the "old" Lakers did.

    After that, the Lakers will remain on the road for their next six games, with the first two against teams with losing records in the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons.

    With the way the Lakers are playing, those should be three more wins, which would give Los Angeles its longest winning streak of the season.

    ---End of update---

     

    UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1:20 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis

    After a huge win over the Jazz, the Lakers will welcome the Thunder into their building Sunday afternoon.

    Last time these two teams met, the Lakers were crushed by a superior Thunder squad, 116-101.

    This won't be an easy game by any stretch and nobody outside the Lakers' locker room thinks they can win it. That should help alleviate some of the pressure, but if Los Angeles wants to contend this year, they must start winning games like these.

    The Thunder have been inconsistent of late and turnovers have been a problem, so it looks like the Lakers might be getting the Thunder at the right time.

    ---End of update---

     

    Three of the Lakers' last four games of the month are certainly winnable, although the term winnable has taken on a new meaning with this struggling bunch.

    After a Friday night showdown with the Utah Jazz, the Lakers will welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to Hollywood. The last time Kobe and Kevin Durant met, the Thunder beat the Lakers by 15 points.

    To complete the final week of January, the Lakers will play host to the New Orleans Hornets and then hit the road to take on the Phoenix Suns. Both of those squads are well below .500 for the season, so this schedule affords the Lakers the opportunity to finish January strong.

    In February, the Lakers have a much more favorable schedule to work with and it could be the month where Los Angeles finally begins to turn things around.

    We'll update this section as the rest of the monthly schedule becomes imminent, but for now we'll base our final predictions for the Lakers' 2012-13 season on whether or not they will be favored in a given game. 

     

    Lakers W-L Prediction: 40-42; miss playoffs (as of 1/26/13)

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