Los Angeles Lakers: Simply Making the Playoffs Won’t Be Enough

The Los Angeles Lakers battled back from a 25-point deficit on Wednesday to beat the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans) behind a 42-point effort from Kobe Bryant. Good for them.

In addition, the Lakers regained their .500 record as they grind their way towards a potential playoff spot. According to Hollinger’s Playoff Odds (via ESPN), Los Angeles now has a 52.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. That is up from a number that was in the 30s not so long ago.

There is much work left to be done, but you could argue that this team has some positive momentum that could help them overtake the Utah Jazz for the eighth playoff spot.

Would making the playoffs really be an accomplishment, though, given the hype that surrounded this team at the beginning of the year? Do fans truly believe that this squad is capable of “flipping the switch” and going on a magical run to the NBA Finals?

Really? Have you seen the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat play lately?

Let’s ask a more pressing question. How did the Lakers fall 25 points behind a team that was 21-40 coming into that game? Before the Lakers arrived, the Hornets were 11-19 at home. Is beating New Orleans really a momentous accomplishment?

I would buy the argument that this was a significant victory if the Lakers had rallied and beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.

If the Lakers make the playoffs, they will face the Thunder, San Antonio Spurs or, perhaps, the Los Angeles Clippers. Then, they will probably face another of those teams if they somehow get past the first round. These are formidable opponents, and while the Lakers might sneak away with a game or two, it is hard to fathom the idea that they could win in a long series.

What does a first-round exit do for this squad? Is it something to build on for next year? Or is it the last-gasp effort of an aging team that is still trying to prove its relevance?


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