The Lakers are languishing, their playoff fate no longer in their control.
But Dwight Howard still thinks a championship is possible.
"If we get into the playoffs, there's no doubt in my mind and in any of our minds, that we can win a championship," he said Tuesday. "It would be stupid of me to sit here and say to you [media] guys that if we make it to the playoffs, we'll be out in the first round. I have confidence in our team."
The Lakers, though, trail Utah by half a game and have already lost the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Jazz.
The Lakers (40-37) have five games left and begin a back-to-back Tuesday against New Orleans at Staples Center. They continue it Wednesday at Portland, where they are 4-17 since 2002.
Howard isn't ready to consider the imponderable: Will the Lakers fail to make the playoffs?
"I really haven't even thought about it," he said. "When we're away from the game, we just keep our minds on something else so we won't just think so much about what we need to do. I think that's bad for us players. When we get in the gym, then it's time to go to work."