Los Angeles Lakers Are Not Making the Playoffs in 2012-13

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers walks along the bench during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2013 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are not going to make the postseason this year. Los Angeles is still eighth in the Western Conference, but this team is going to find a way to lose that spot.

Fans may suggest that this is just more hatred for the Lakers. It is not. The prediction that the Lakers will not make the playoffs stems from numbers and stark realities.

This squad just isn’t equipped to finish strong. Too many injuries. Too little defense. Not enough ability to win on the road. Losses in four of the last five games.

There are nine games to go. Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register quoted Dwight Howard saying this:

Dwight: "We need to win every single game that we have left."

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 29, 2013

You think?

Kobe Bryant will obviously battle to the end. He won’t go down without a fight.

Is there still a good chance? Of course. The latest Hollinger’s Playoff Odds give the Lakers a 54.5 percent shot at making the playoffs.

Basically...close to a 50-50 chance.

Dwight’s assessment is actually incorrect. The Lakers do not necessarily have to win the rest of their games. Six wins could very easily seal the deal.

If the season plays out in sync with the computer simulations, the Lakers finish 5-4 and sneak into the playoffs with a 42-40 record. The Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks are both projected to finish 41-41.

Room for error? Zero. I don’t see it happening.

Consider the final nine games: three on the road and six at home. Granted, one of those “road” games is against the Clippers, so the Lakers aren’t exactly far away from home. Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume these outcomes.

At Sacramento: Win

Dallas: Loss

Memphis: Loss

At Clippers: Loss

New Orleans: Win

At Portland: Loss

Golden State: Loss

San Antonio: Loss

Houston: Loss

Record in final nine games: 2-7

That is obviously a very negative scenario. Howard could lead the Lakers to victory against their co-tenants and win a key battle for Los Angeles at just the right time.

The Mavericks are beatable, as are the Blazers. Los Angeles may rise up and give the Warriors some payback. San Antonio could rest their starters and surrender the win. Kobe could will the Lakers to victory against the Rockets if a playoff spot comes down to the last game.

All possibly. Just not all likely.

If the Lakers are going to make the playoffs, who will actually lead them? Metta World Peace is out. Steve Nash was hurt in the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Worst of all, Kobe Bryant has a bone spur in his foot that has apparently been a problem for some time.

Kobe has a bone spur in his left foot that has been bothering him for awhile. Will see foot specialist tomorrow in Sacramento.

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 29, 2013

How much can Kobe take? The legendary guard has amazingly battled through a bevy of injuries over the years, but even No. 24 is mortal. There has to be a limit.

Again, could the Lakers hold the playoff spot? Absolutely.

The strategy is simple. Win five of nine. Hope that the Mavericks and Jazz falter.

At this point, it just isn’t looking good for the Los Angeles Lakers. To win, the Lakers need to play defense, and they have given up 110.5 points per game over the last four contests. Los Angeles is now the 26th-worst defensive squad at 101.4 points per game.

This proud franchise may be forced to watch the playoffs on television along with the rest of the fans.