Breaking Down LA Lakers Playoff Chances and What Team They Have to Catch

If the Los Angeles Lakers are to make good on Kobe Bryant's promise to clinch a playoff berth, they're going to need to do it against all odds. Literally.

Two games under .500 and currently the ninth seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers find themselves three games outside of the playoff picture. With 24 games left that's doable, right?


Is it probable?

Statistics suggest otherwise.

According to John Hollinger's (formerly of ESPN) playoff odds, Los Angeles has a 34.9 percent chance of making the postseason.

That's preposterous, though. Surely the Lakers can make up a three-game deficit over the next 24 contests. Passing the Houston Rockets is a near formality.

Except it isn't, because Los Angeles isn't chasing the Rockets. Per Kurt Heilin of NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk, the Lakers are instead chasing the Utah Jazz:

The Rockets have the easiest schedule in the NBA the rest of the way and so B-R says they should go 15-9 the rest of the way, or finish with 46 wins. That gives them a 96.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The Jazz have a tougher schedule the rest of the way and they are more likely the team the Lakers should target. Still, the Jazz are a solid team that B-R has going 12-13 the rest of the way, or finishing with 43 wins.

So the Lakers would have to go 16-8 the rest of the way — win two thirds of their games — to best that mark. Can they? They have the fifth easiest schedule here on out.


Looking at the playoff probabilities provided by, this is all true.

Houston has the easiest remaining schedule in the league and is predicted to go 15-9, which would give them 46 wins. has Utah facing what is presently the 15th-toughest schedule in the league. If the Jazz finished 12-13 as projected, that would give them a record 43-39.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers