Just prior to the Lakers match-up against the Utah Jazz, the team had been on a 17-1 run post All-Star break. Three games later, the Lakers have straight losses to the Jazz, Nuggets and Warriors. Not exactly the best way to head into the last four games of the season, three of those against teams standing in the way of the Lakers’ hope at a three-peat.
Still even with the Lakers semi-breakdown, they’re still the best overall team in the West, regardless of seeding or record. They’ll want to still end the season on a favorable note, the top spot is out of the question as it now belongs to the Spurs, but still have to remain competitive to stay in the number two spot out West and possibly gain more ground on the Celtics, Heat and Bulls should they meet in the finals.
Perhaps the Lakers most recent flirtation with complacency is a direct result of the team being as ready for the playoffs to start as most fans are. Just like the regular season has been one to remember, the playoffs are poised to be quite possibly the best 8 weeks of basketball ever. Besides what the playmakers do on the court, there’s plenty of drama outside to provide for some juicy subplots.
We examine them now in ascending order.