Entering Wednesday night’s games, the Lakers were 15-19 after 34 games, roughly 40% through this year’s schedule. No longer do the Lakers have the excuse of “it’s still the beginning of the season.” They have been above .500 just once(6-5 after a win against Brooklyn on 11/2), and at worse have been five games under, just one game below where they sit now. Dwight Howard is out for an unknown amount of time with a torn labrum, Pau Gasol is out with a concussion while also dealing with plantar fasciitis. Even Jordan Hill, their back up plan, is day to day with a hip injury. Their emergency plan at big Robert Sacre looked average last night, but looked lost whenever he was forced to make a decision in isolation. ESPN LA “The Forum” claims that the Lakers are most likely a 6 seed who will lose in the first round of the playoffs. Here is the link to that video here.
But how does that happen? They are four games out right now, and have lost four straight. It simply is becoming less and less of a reality that this team can make the playoffs, nevermind contend for any type of title. It doesn’t help that teams like the Clippers, Warriors, and Rockets have all established themselves as playoff teams and will look to take spots taken before by the likes of the Lakers and Mavericks. In the past 10 years(not including last years shortened season), the eight seed in the West has averaged 45.6 wins. So if the Lakers had to get to 45 wins to make the playoffs, that means they have to finish the season going 30-18 to get to a 45-37 overall record. Impossible? Certainly not. Will it happen? Not without a little luck.
With the Lakers on their worst official start in the last ten years, I wanted to take an in depth look at what they had left on their schedule. So far, the Lakers have had a little bit of unlucky fortune besides all of their injuries. They have played the 9th toughest schedule in the league, and have played four more games on the road than at home.(Of course one of those was against the Clippers in the Staples Center, in which Chris Paul was getting booed on his own floor.) They have also lost seven of their 19 losses by six points or less. However, the future doesn’t seem to favor the Lakeshow. Here are some stats regarding the Lakers remaining schedule:
- Out of their remaining 48 games, 28 of them are against teams who currently have winning records.
- The Lakers still have to head East to play 7 out of the 8 remaining East playoff teams(as of today’s standings). That is road games against the Bulls, Heat, Celtics, Hawks, Nets, Pacers and Bucks.
- The Lakers have still have two games to play against the following teams; the Heat, Celtics, Bulls, Grizzlies, Thunder, Clippers, Warriors, Spurs, Mavericks and Trailblazers.
- They will finish their season with three at home, yet those three will be against Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston(all of whom could be fighting for a playoff spot as well, or even home court.)
ESPN’s Hollinger odds currently has the Lakers finishing 9th at 41-1, with a 30.5% chance of making the playoffs. But when you look that all is above, can you even expect that? You can’t expect that even when Gasol and Howard return that all four stars will finish off the season playing every game together. And if this continues to go downhill, do the Lakers trade Pau, or even Dwight and admit that this was a failure? While there is still plenty of basketball played, and the Lakers stress that they will turn it around, the purple and gold may be running out of time.