The Los Angeles Lakers are hanging on to a playoff spot. Barely.
How does the oft-used phrase go? Hope for best, plan for the worst?
When you are a fan of a sports team, there can be a vast range of emotions. Excitement. Optimism.
Then agony. Frustration.
You could argue that the Lakers have caused many different emotions for the fans this season. There was great optimism in the offseason when Dwight Howard and Steve Nash arrived. Throughout the season, there has been a constant pendulum of feeling which has ranged between hope and despair.
One moment, this team looks like they are finally getting it. Turning the corner. Putting it all together.
The next moment? Failure. Despair. A sense that this team wasted a great opportunity to be something special.
Will the Lakers make the playoffs? Again, pick your favorite sports phrase.
In the driver’s seat. Theirs to lose. Controlling their own destiny.
The Lakers pulled out a great win (via ESPN) against the defensive-minded Memphis Grizzlies, and Los Angeles is clinging desperately to that final playoff spot. However, making the postseason is certainly not in the bag.
Six games remain. You could argue that four of those games will be very tough.
The other two games (New Orleans and Portland) fit into the proverbial “trap” category, which means that they are certainly winnable. However, an inspired opponent could rise up and take down an unprepared squad. The Portland game could be a particular challenge, given that the Lakers have struggled so mightily on the road.
Call it a glass-half-empty approach, but there is some truth to the suggestion that Lakers fans should brace for impact. This may not end well.
Los Angeles could still miss the playoffs very easily. If they do make the playoffs, they could get beat up in very embarrassing fashion. You have to applaud a team that has not given up, but they have defeated few quality opponents all season.
In the playoffs, everyone is a quality opponent.
There is a blueprint for success in the playoffs. Howard Ruben of Bleacher Report wrote an excellent article covering that exact topic. Now, the Lakers just need to follow it. Unfortunately, they have gotten away from the blueprint many times this season.
Stay positive Lakers fans, but protect your heart. This team still has the potential to break it.