So LA holds on to beat Minnesota, but they almost blew their lead.
Anyone watch the Lakers/Minn game at halftime? Greg Anthony talked about the playoff race in the West, and he picked Sacramento and the Clips to take the 7th and 8th spots, leaving out the Lakers and the Ws. He didn't have a lot of conviction, but he said that the teams were pretty even and he went with "the teams with the veteran leadership".
I agree that LA did not look that great tonight, but they are still in great shape. After tonight's win, they have:
15 games left, 7 road, and 8 home (plus, one of their road games is against the Clips, so it's basically a home game)
5 games against Playoff bound teams
6 games against teams fighting for playoffs
4 games against teams out of playoffs
I think LA will hold on; compared to the other 5 teams they have the easiest schedule, and they have a decent cushion after tonight (4 games in the loss column over the Ws and Clips, 5 games over the other teams). Interesting that the Lakers could have an impact on the 8th spot, as they have 6 games against the West teams fighting for the playoffs.
That means that if the Lakers just go 6-9 in their remaining games, they end up 41-41, and the other teams would have to have these records to get ahead of them (the Lakers already own the tiebreaker with the Ws and Minnesota, and are likely to have the tiebreaker over Sac and LAC. The only team that has 2 wins against the Lakers is NO, so NO could win the tiebreaker):
I just can't see any of these 5 teams winning that many games down the stretch. Now you can assume that the Lakers don't win 6 games, but you can see that even if the Lakers only win 4 or 5 games, then TWO of the other 5 teams still needs a helluva run to catch them and bump them out of the playoffs. Maybe one of these 5 teams can do it, but not two.