Lakers fans tend to be slightly delusional. Whether it was the weekly yearning for a straight up Pau Gasol and Josh Smith swap (that in no universe would the cap-clearing Hawks consider), or the steady insistence that the playoffs are still theirs to be had. Looking at their remaining schedule and the current standings, one could be favorable with assumed wins and it is still a stretch for them to sneak in. Unless a young, higher-ranked team such as the Rockets or Warriors collapses, there is really no way.
With 24 games remaining on the schedule (split home and away), the Lakers could go 16-8 down the stretch, and I still think they would be on the outside looking in. Ahead of them in the rankings, the Rockets have 23 games remaining with only 9 of those on the road. With a favorable schedule and young roster that feeds off of the home crowd, I don’t see the Rockets finishing up any worse than 14-9. That puts the Rockets a half game ahead of the Lakers at the end of the season.
The league prefers the Lakers because of their star power and huge market. I just hope we don’t go into the last game of the season with the 8th seed on the line. No way a young Rockets team could handle the crowd or refs in a winner take all game at Staples.
The teams face off in the season finale, April 17th.