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Lakers just 2-13 against top five teams in the Western Conference

March 07, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin… (Sue Ogrocki / Associated…)

The Lakers (31-31) are fighting to climb into the top eight in the Western Conference.  The goal is to catch the Utah Jazz (32-29), Houston Rockets (33-29) or Golden State Warriors (35-27).

While there's no certainty the Lakers achieve that goal, technically it's possible they catch all three to climb as high as the sixth seed.  That may be a stretch but climbing any higher than six isn't going to happen - if it's still a mathematical possibility.

A 6-8 seeding will see a first-round matchup against one of five opponents:  San Antonio Spurs (48-14), Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16), Clippers (44-19), Grizzlies (40-19) or Denver Nuggets (40-22).  The most likely two of the five are the Spurs and Thunder.

So far this season, the Lakers are just 2-13 against these top-five teams.  They've beaten the Thunder and Nuggets once each but have lost all seven against the remaining three.

The Lakers still play the Spurs, Grizzlies and Clippers at Staples Center - the Clippers game technically on the road.

Given the number of injuries the Lakers have had to battle through, the regular season may not predict how they fare in the playoffs.

Pau Gasol is expected to return from a foot injury soon, which will bolster the already improving Lakers.

The Lakers have a real shot to make the postseason but advancing past one of the top teams in the NBA will be a true test.

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Jerry West says Lakers will make playoffs, 'worst is behind them'

Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson exchange barbs

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

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