Article published on 15 April 2013

LA Lakers on Cusp of NBA Playoffs

Lakers Seek Playoff Berth
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The end of the 2012-13 NBA regular season is around the corner, and just as the best teams will progress to the NBA playoffs and beyond, the worst teams will be in for some serious soul-searching, as they head back to the drawing board in preparation for next season.

Kobe Bryant Sidelined Due to Injury

One team that will be smiling all the way to the NBA playoffs is the Miami Heat, who have clinched the southeast Division and the Eastern Conference. Another team on the cusp of smiling is the LA Lakers, who have yet to secure a playoff berth, and will have to do so without their legendary shooting guard, Kobe Bryant.

On Friday night against the Golden State Warriors, Lakers fans could only look on in horror as Bryant was sidelined when he tore his Achilles' tendon. Not only will he miss the rest of the season, but the question is whether he'll be able to make enough of a recovery to return to the sport at such as high level?

Considering his enormous contribution to the Lakers' success this season, Bryant's absence will no doubt be weighing heavily on the team from California. Although you might not have thought so watching their game on Sunday night, where they managed to dispatch the San Antonio Spurs 91-86 in fine style.

Lakers Rallied in 4th Quarter for Victory

Stepping up in the absence of Bryant, Dwight Howard racked up 26 points and 17 rebounds, as did Steve Blake, who added 23 points of his own. Just when it looked like the Lakers were going down, they rallied in the fourth quarter to keep the team from Texas at bay, and their 2012-13 NBA playoff hopes alive.

But the Lakers are not out of the woods just yet. On Wednesday they must take on the Houston Rockets, which, with just one more victory needed to secure a playoff berth, they will head into with "guns blazing." Similarly, if the Utah Jazz lose one more game from their remaining two, the Lakers will progress.

While fans of the Los Angeles Lakers will be saddened by the absence of the team's leading points scorer, they will be hoping the team can dig deep enough to progress into the post season. Bryant has stated that he will call the team at half time to give them encouragement as well as a few pointers if they need them.

Teams With Secured NBA Playoff Berths

Here are the teams that have secured NBA playoff berths so far this season:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
New York Knicks (clinched the division)
Brooklyn Nets
Boston Celtics

Central Division
Indiana Pacers (clinched the division)
Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks

Southeast Division
Miami Heat (clinched the division and conference)
Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference

Northwest Division
Oklahoma City (clinched the division)
Denver Nuggets

Pacific Division
L.A. Clippers (clinched the division)
Golden State Warriors

Southwest Division
San Antonio Spurs (clinched the division)
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets

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