NBA Playoffs 2013: LA Lakers Will Lose Eighth Seed, Western Conference Predictions

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Mar 29, 2013 01:51 PM EDT
NBA Playoffs 2013 Predictions
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (L) is defended by Milwaukee Bucks forward Marquis Daniels during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Hauck"

You mean, aside from acquiring Mike D'Antoni, the Los Angeles Lakers are in bad shape? As the NBA season is coming to a close, the Lakers are deteriorating after a hot start after the All-Star Game. However, with just a .5 game lead over the Utah Jazz and 1.5 games over the Dallas Mavericks, the injured Lakers don't look like they're in good shape as the final three weeks of the NBA season are to be played. Here are my predictions for the 2013 Playoffs. 

Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are injured. Nash has a bum hip and hamstring issues, while Bryant has a bone spur in his left foot. Without these two play callers, the Lakers are naked. Howard plays solid basketball, but he's not the Howard that dominated games while with the Orlando Magic. As there are nine games left on the Lakers' schedule, they do control their own destiny, if they win every single game remaining on their schedule. 

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For the Lakers to do this, they have to get past the Memphis Grizzliles, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. Things are simply not looking well for the Lakers. They have a big game coming up against the Mavericks that could help them get to the eighth seed.

Indeed, the Mavericks are my favorites to take the final Western Conference spot available for the playoffs. They are 6-4, while the Lakers are 5-5 and the Jazz ad 4-6. They are playing better basketball and though Dirk Nowitzki was injured at the start of the season, he is back to his dominating ways.

The Mavericks are currently 35-37 and 1.5 games out of eighth place. If the Lakers lose to the Sacramento Kings and the Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls, who are fresh off their victory over the Miami Heat, then Dallas could prepare a takeover as they meet L.A. at the Staple Center. Basically, two Laker losses and two Mavs wins changes the way the look of the bottom of the Western Conference. 

More bad news for the Lakers, if the Mavericks take over the eighth seed now, L.A.'s chances of regaining playoff position will become almost impossible because the Mavericks face teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets, who they see twice. 

The Lakers' starting lineup is depleted so it doesn't matter who they face, they practically look like a below average team without Bryant and Nash in their lineups. 

The season concludes on Apr. 17. Before that date arrives, however, the Mavericks will probably have a hold of the final playoff spot as the Lakers and Jazz will disappear into oblivion. 

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