Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash might yet lead the Lakers to the playoffs, if the… (Nathan Denette / Associated…)
The Lakers still look like they have a chance to make the playoffs, as long as they get enough days off.
When the Lakers actually play, that's another thing entirely. While continuing to lose at a high rate, the Lakers have gained recently when they haven't played.
The Portland Trail Blazers have lost six straight. Before their Monday win over the Charlotte Bobcats, the Houston Rockets had lost seven. The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost six of their last seven.
The top seven teams in the Western Conference may be firming up with the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz battling for the sixth and seventh seeds.
There remains one position open for a postseason berth that nobody seems to want.
The Lakers (17-24) are four games behind the Rockets (22-21). The Blazers, Timberwolves and now the Dallas Mavericks are ahead of the Lakers in the standings.
It's too much to expect the Lakers to climb, given how rarely they've won games of late, but then the other teams haven't done much better.
It's a war of attrition. The first team to play mediocre basketball will make the playoffs.
With their road-heavy schedule, the prospects continue to dim for the Lakers.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.