The Lakers have done a tremendous job over the past five months of reminding sports fans that crowning a paper champion is never a wise decision. With only five games remaining in the regular season, LA is currently on the outside looking in at a Western Conference playoff spot. The Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Sunday left them one game behind the Jazz, who defeated the Warriors in Golden State.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Mike D’Antoni said his team is not afraid of anyone and that they feel they are one of the four best teams in the West.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni says they should be a Top 4 team and they don’t fear anyone.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 7, 2013
Again, nothing is decided on paper. Oh wait, playoff seeding is. The Lakers need to win two more games than the Jazz over the last five, which is not impossible. If they are able to grab the eighth seed and sneak into the playoffs, D’Antoni could turn out to be right. But that will not be an easy task, especially given the way LA has played all season.
The Lakers have home games remaining against the Hornets, Spurs, Warriors and Rockets with one road game against the Blazers. The Jazz have home games against the Thunder and Timberwolves and will also travel to Memphis and Minnesota. Simply put, the Lakers are in serious danger of missing the playoffs altogether.
If LA does get in, they will likely be facing either the Spurs or Thunder in the opening round. Unless we see a completely different Lakers team than the one we’ve seen all year, I highly doubt they can beat either of those two teams in a seven-game series. Motivational tactics like this from D’Antoni seem to go in one ear and out the other.
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