Kobe Bryant makes a pass after driving down the lane against Jazz big men… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
The Lakers (32-31) had a productive Saturday while preparing to meet the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
How important were the two wild wins this week over the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors?
Mathematically, the Lakers are guaranteed to finish no lower than seventh if they win every remaining game this season. While that may be unrealistic, the numbers don't lie.
The Golden State Warriors (35-29), Houston Rockets (34-30) and Utah Jazz (32-31) all lost on Saturday, pulling the Lakers a half-game closer to the top six, seven and eight positions in the Western Conference.
The Lakers are still in ninth place, but they're now tied with the Jazz, who own the season tiebreaker. Utah would finish ahead of the Lakers if neither team loses again.
If, however, the Lakers beat the Warriors (twice) and Rockets without losing another game -- the Lakers will finish ahead of both.
Additionally Houston plays Golden State and Utah once each -- and the Jazz and Warriors meet again one more time as well.
While just a month ago it looked like the Lakers might not make it to the postseason at all, suddenly they have a very real shot at the sixth seed in the West.
Of course, that requires the Lakers to keep on winning....
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