By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves just one win away from making the playoffs. The Lakers big win over the San Antonio Spurs without Kobe Bryant, who will be out for the season and playoffs, was one that was much needed as the Utah Jazz won against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dwight Howard led the team in the game against the Spurs with 26 points. Steve Blake, who is starting for Steve Nash who is now expected to miss the last game of the season, scored 23 points providing a much needed spark.
The Lakers with just the final game left against the Houston Rockets can find themselves out of the playoffs, remain at the 8th and final spot or even move up to the 7th spot. With a win over the Rockets on Wednesday the purple and gold will find themselves at the 7th seed. If the Lakers were to lose against the Rockets, they would need the Utah Jazz to lose against the Memphis Grizzlies to remain at the 8th spot. If the Lakers were to lose against the Rockets and the Jazz beat the Grizzlies the Lakers would be out of the playoffs.
The Lakers will have a size advantage over the Rockets with both Pau Gasol and Howard. If the Lakers manage to get into the playoffs both Howard and Gasol will be their biggest weapons. The best outcome for Los Angeles would be to beat the Houston Rockets to climb up to the 7th seed and avoid playing the Oklahoma City Thunder. The match up against the Spurs would be better for the Lakers due to the size advantage. The Lakers beat the Spurs without Kobe Bryant and the other games played earlier in the season ended with L.A. losing but by a margin no greater than three. NBA fans will also be please to see the match up of the Thunder against James Harden and the Rockets as well. The Lakers are in control of their own destiny and will have to look to beat the Rockets because the Utah Jazz will bring a fight to Memphis because it is “Win or Go Home.”