The grind of the NBA season is all about making runs at the right times. Teams often push themselves to get off to a strong start and work hard to maintain it through the ebb and flows of the year. As the end of the regular season is a little more than a month away the groups that are looking to play into the post season are starting to separate themselves from the pack. Out in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers have now become one of those teams.
With 17 games left in their year the Lakers have taken hold of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. At 34-31 they may only be 3 games over .500 but have finally gained a bit of success in a year that has been racked with issues and defeats. To get to this point they’ve had to put together an 8-2 record during their last ten games and play at a level that they have not been able to reach for majority of the year.
Since the All-Star break the Lakers have pulled together a 9-2 record with a number of wins coming over playoff caliber teams in both the Western and Eastern conferences. One of the more interesting aspects of this run is the Lakers ability to score at an average of 107 points per game. Kobe Bryant is leading the way with 30.3 points per outing while Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace are each offering double digit points per each outing. They’ve continued to struggle defensively, which would be a major problem during the post season, as teams have been able to score 103 points in each game which is slightly more than their 25th place season average.
The race against the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot is far from over. The Lakers are currently a half game up on the Jazz but Utah holds the tie breaker and a 2-1 record over Kobe and company this year. Looking at the rest of the schedule this year the Lakers will play against 9 teams in playoff position while the Jazz are set to face off against 10, including a tough five game stretch.
Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers have been on a roller coaster ride from the start of the year and while they may be asking to get off, things are not quite over yet. These last four weeks of the regular season will provide from some intrigue as they fight to maintain their place in the NBA post season.