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Latest Odds Surrounding LA Lakers' Playoff Hopes

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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.

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