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Los Angeles Lakers: Final Odds of Making the Playoffs

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to his foul during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on February 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
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Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIJanuary 4, 2017

The Los Angeles Lakers should make the playoffs. Should.

The Los Angeles Lakers should be able to beat the Houston Rockets. Should.

Isn’t it nice when life is simple? All the Lakers have to do is win one little game, and they are in the postseason.

Fans should hardly be surprised that it all comes down to the final game. With the way this season has gone, it would almost be surprising if the Lakers did not make the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.

Truthfully, odds mean little at this point but they are still interesting to examine and ponder. When you look at Hollinger’s Playoff Odds (via ESPN), the Lakers are listed as having a 94.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Is that all?

If only it were that simple.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN made an interesting point about what the Lakers must do going forward if they make the playoffs:

First you have to learn to play with Kobe Bryant. Then you have to unlearn it.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nb…

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) April 15, 2013

Unfortunately, the Lakers aren’t in just yet. Nervous fans could see this all unraveling.

Houston is not necessarily a pushover, and they might relish an opportunity to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs. However, the Utah Jazz will face a quality opponent in the Memphis Grizzlies.

Will the Lakers have one of their classic letdown performances that have been all too common this year? Will Memphis rest their starters and allow the Jazz an opportunity to grab one last win?

Unless the Jazz-Grizzlies game goes long, the Lakers could conceivably know the outcome before they take the floor against the Rockets. If you are the Lakers, do you want to know?

It is time for Dwight Howard to lead and show Los Angeles that he can be a leader on this team. This is his moment to demonstrate that he can put a team on his back and be the cornerstone for the future.

Will Superman make an appearance on Wednesday night?

Assuming the Lakers win, will making the playoffs be seen as an accomplishment for this team? Hardly. The fans had high hopes when this squad was put together in the offseason. A title was discussed at length, and it was assumed by many fans that the Lakers would at minimum be an elite team.

The devastating injury to Kobe Bryant was the final insult in a season that has been an emotional rollercoaster from the very beginning. To make the playoffs is obviously a positive accomplishment for any teams, but one suspects that the fans will still lament what could have been.

Kobe probably said it best after the Lakers beat the Spurs on April 14:

Whew!! Well done my dudes. Well done. UNO MAS #playoffs

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 15, 2013

Indeed. It all comes down to this. Win, or go home.

Follow @tpheifer

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