The Lakers missed an opportunity on Wednesday night, losing to the Phoenix Suns, 92-86. Given their 20-26 record, the Lakers can't afford to miss many more.
The eighth-place Houston Rockets lost to the Denver Nuggets. The ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers were idle.
Instead of gaining a full game on the Rockets, the Lakers are still four back. A win would have brought the Lakers a half-game closer to the Blazers; instead they're now 3 1/2 games back.
The Utah Jazz won again, making the seventh seed that much more of a stretch (five full games out of reach).
It's looking more and more like the Lakers will climb no higher than eighth in the Western Conference ... if they make it to the postseason at all.