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Lakers are a Disaster and Other Rumblings from the West

Steve Nash

Can Nash possibly rally the Lakers to a post-season berth?

If you looked at the schedule remaining for the Los Angeles Lakers then you probably thought, “OK, about 15 games or so left with teams under .500 so making the playoffs is still doable.” I admit, I thought the same thing. This LA team just has too much talent to not at the very least get the eighth and final playoff spot, but I guess maybe I was wrong.

The Lakers traveled east to Toronto for a game that should have been one of those “15 games” they should win, but instead left Canada yesterday with a 108-103 loss to the Raptors. In the loss, Lakers’ Center Dwight Howard was ejected in the first half for receiving two technical foul calls in separate incidents. It was the second time this season Howard has been tossed for two technicals. He now has six total on the season.

While both his coach Mike D’Antoni and teammate Kobe Bryant said the technical fouls were uncalled for, it still can’t stop the obvious questions about just how this team gets along in the locker room. It’s clear that Howard has an ego and we all know that Bryant does as well, but I have to question the hiring of D’Antoni because he was a guy who struggled dealing with the egos in New York. LA is now 11th in the Western Conference but is still just three games out of the 8th spot which tells me there is still an opportunity for them to get back into the post-season picture. Time is suddenly not on their side though.

Rumblings from the West… Chris Paul returned after missing three games to score 22 points in the Clippers win over Washington… Three of the top five scorers in the NBA reside in the West with Kobe (1st), Kevin Durant (2nd) and James Harden (5th)… The top four steals guys in the league are also in the Western Conference and are led by the Clippers’ Paul… The Houston Rockets dropped their seventh-straight game over the weekend losing to Minnesota… If the playoffs started today, we’d have a great 4-5 match-up with Memphis playing the Golden State Warriors.

Stephen Curry

Curry has the Warriors in the thinck of the playoff race out West.

Speaking of the Warriors…. They have to be considered a pleasant surprise in the Western Conference right now. At 24-15, the Warriors have gone 5-5 in their last ten games and host the Clippers tonight on the West Coast. They’re in the top ten in rebounding, assists and points scored which to me signals they are a group playing really well together as a team and could do some damage in the playoffs with that style.

Stephen Curry leads the Warriors with 20.5 points per game but he gets help scoring from David Lee who averages a double-double with almost 20 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack both chip in double figures per night as well. If they can stay healthy and pick it up on the defensive end a bit they will be a tough out in the playoffs.

Games I’m watching this week

LA Clippers at Golden State – This a barometer-type game for the Warriors who are having a great season, but must see how they can handle one of the league’s top teams. With Paul back, the Clippers just have too much.

Oklahoma City at Golden State – Well, two nights after they host the NBA’s 2nd best team, the league’s top team comes to the Bay Area. A lot will depend on how Golden State does tonight, but I still like the Thunder in this one.

Denver at Houston – The Rockets will have a chance tonight to end their skid in Charlotte before returning home to play Denver. The Nuggets just finished a 7-3 stretch, but lost their last two including one to Washington. I like the Rockets either way returning home in this game.

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