Before Thursday night’s loss to the Miami Heat in South Beach, the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers were arguably the hottest team in the league with eight straight wins. After beating the league leading San Antonio Spurs in convincing fashion last Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers showed the entire league that they are ready to make the final push for the playoffs and yet another NBA title.
Unfortunately, even though they are still considered to be arguably the best team in the league right now after their impressive run as of late, they did suffer a loss to the Miami Heat and may have jeopardized their chances of competing with the Dallas Mavericks for the second seed in the Western Conference.
With the Dallas Mavericks dominating the New York Knicks on Thursday (127-109) and the Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Miami Heat (94-88), the Mavs are now a game and half ahead of the Lakers in the West. Even though Thursday’s games did give the Mavs the edge moving forward, these two Western Conference heavyweights will be going head-to-head on Saturday night in Dallas.
A win for the Lakers on Saturday night would be a big step in the right direction moving forward as they would be just a half game back of the Mavs in the West. With 15 regular season games left before the playoffs, the Lakers will have a great opportunity to take over the second seed.
In my opinion, the Lakers could go 10-5 in the next 15 games as they play teams like the Utah Jazz (twice), Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Hornets. Along with these relatively easy wins, the Los Angeles Lakers will also face these playoff bound teams in the final stretch of the season: Dallas Mavericks (twice), Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers (twice), Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
So things are looking up for the Lakers as they could head into the playoffs full steam ahead, but they will first have to get past the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. Not only could the Lakers meet the Mavs in the playoffs at some point, but they will need to get this win in Dallas this weekend in order to get back on track and prove that the loss to the Heat has only motivated them more moving forward.
This game will be another tough one for the Lakeshow as they will be facing a Dallas Mavericks squad that is coming off a huge win over Carmelo Anthony and the revamped New York Knicks 127-109. Even though the Los Angeles Lakers pose some pretty big matchup problems in the paint for the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki and company will give the defending champs a run for their money on Saturday night as they have won eight of their last ten games.