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Warriors may open path to the playoffs for Lakers

February 20, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Steve Nash dribbles past the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry during a game in Oakland.
Steve Nash dribbles past the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

As the Lakers try to climb into the top eight in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors are becoming a target after their sixth straight loss Tuesday night.

The Lakers (25-29) have caught the Portland Trail Blazers with the same record, although Portland temporarily has the tie-breaker. The Lakers and Blazers still play twice before season's end. Portland has also lost six in a row.

The Houston Rockets (29-26) are in eighth place, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers. The two teams meet on the final day of the season, which could tip the tie-breaker to the Lakers.

The Utah Jazz (31-24) are in seventh but they've already finished their season series against the Lakers, winning two of three. The Jazz have won three straight, pulling ahead of the Lakers by 5 1/2 games.

The Warriors (30-23) are also 5 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers with a six-game advantage in the loss column. The Lakers have beaten Golden State twice already this season, with two to play.

If the Lakers complete the sweep, they'll own the tie-breaker. Of course, the Lakers will still need to make up four games in the loss column to catch Golden State.

The Warriors control their own destiny, but if they keep slumping, the Lakers may find another path to the postseason.

ALSO:

Phil Jackson says Lakers aren't using Dwight Howard properly

Lakers' Pau Gasol says he's made good progress with foot injury

Mitch Kupchak reiterates that Dwight Howard will not be traded

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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