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Westsider Rider

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The slide continues

The Lakers had their chances, but couldn't finish something that's been happening a lot lately as they dropped a pivotal game against the Denver Nuggets last night. That leaves the Lakers 1 1/2 games behind Denver with 4 to play, and with Denver owning the tiebreaker it's more like 2 1/2 meaning the Lakers are most likely headed to a repeat of last year as the 7th seed to face the 2nd seed Phoenix Suns. Denver has 5 games remaining and would have to go 1-4 while the Lakers win out to get the 6th seed. At worst the Nuggets should finish 2-3 as they have winnable games against New Orleans, Memphis and Minnesota, as well as Utah and San Antonio. The Lakers close out with the Clippers, Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento. Knowing the way this team is playing right now they'll probably split these 4. If they finish worse, than 2-2 there is a chance they could be the 8th seed, or possibly even miss the playoffs.

As I've harped on the past few posts, the main problem lies with the defense. In the month of April alone, the last 6 games, the Lakers have allowed their opponents to score over 100 points 5 of those games. Defense like that against the Suns will end the Lakers season in 4 or 5 games. There is some bright side as Vladimir Radmonovic is expected to return this week. Maybe he's the shot in the arm our team needs, who knows, with Lamar's shoulder not allowing him to effectively shoot from the outside, maybe Vlad can pick up the slack. But considering he himself is coming off a shoulder injury, I doubt it, maybe the time off allowed his hand to heal which will improve his shooting because it definitely wasn't what the Lakers expected when they signed him.

Regardless of the playoff matchup it will be against a tough team, one of the top 3 in the West. The Lakers need to start playing better D and stop making so many stupid mistakes. Sure the playoffs are completely independent of the regular season but I would feel much better about our chances if the team started playing better. Let's hope the turnaround starts on Thursday against the Clippers.



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