Lakers power forward Pau Gasol tries to stop Trail Blazers power forward… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers won't make the playoffs without some help.
On Sunday, after falling to the Miami Heat 107-97, the Lakers got some assistance from both the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings.
At 24-28, the Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference, with hopes to climb to eighth before the end of the season. The Utah Jazz (28-24), Houston Rockets (28-25) and Portland Trail Blazers (25-26) are in their way.
The Lakers need to overtake two of the three teams and on Sunday the Magic knocked off the Blazers 110-104 and the Kings beat the Rockets 117-111.
If the Lakers sweep the two remaining games against the Blazers, they'll own the tiebreaker. Just two losses behind, the Lakers mathematically have it within their power to pass Portland.
The Rockets have a 2-1 series lead and are three losses ahead. The Lakers have the better conference record, so a victory over Houston at Staples Center on the final day of the season could give the Lakers the tiebreaker.
That means the Lakers still need help from other teams to outpace the Rockets.
Finally, the Jazz have already won the completed season series against the Lakers. While L.A. is technically four losses behind, it will need to do one better than a tie.
That means the team will need the Jazz to pile up five more losses than the Lakers with 30 games to play. If the Lakers finish 20-10, they need the Jazz to end no better than an even 15-15.
For any of it to matter, the Lakers need to win at a high rate the rest of the way.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.