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Looking at what Lakers need to do to secure No. 2 seed in the West and home-court implications against Miami and Boston

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The biggest concern regarding the Lakers' current five-game losing streak involves setting themselves up for the more difficult task of ensuring home-court advantage in the Western Conference playoffs -- at least for the first two rounds.

Even if the Lakers have maintained all along that health and quality of play is more important than securing home-court advantage, there's no need to make that destination any harder to reach. That's why the Lakers have at least conceded they're aiming for the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference. It's a fate they still technically control, but there's no room for error. The Mavericks (56-25) are half a game ahead of the Lakers (55-25) for the second spot in the West after their 98-91 victory over Houston on Monday night, while Oklahoma City (55-25) only sits half a game behind the Lakers for third place.

Dallas has one game remaining against New Orleans (46-35) on Wednesday, meaning the Lakers would secure the No. 2 seeding if they win their remaining two games Tuesday against San Antonio (61-19) and Wednesday at Sacramento (24-57). Even if Dallas beats New Orleans, the Lakers winning out would secure the tiebreaker over the Mavericks because the Lakers won the Pacific Division. Should the Lakers lose one of their two remaining games, they would only secure a higher seeding if Dallas lost to New Orleans.

The scenarios surrounding the Thunder make the seedings implications a tad more complicated. The Mavericks' victory over New Orleans would prevent the Thunder from surpassing them in the playoff seedings. If Dallas lost to New Orleans and Oklahoma City defeated the Bucks in their season finale on Wednesday, the Thunder would have a higher seeding than Dallas because OKC won the Northwest Division. The only way the Thunder could have a higher seeding than the Lakers was if L.A. lost its last two games and OKC beat the Bucks. Should the Lakers and Oklahoma City finish with identical records, the Lakers would own the tiebreaker because they won the season series, 2-1.

Even if Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has told his team not to worry about home-court implications with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, the Lakers won't be ringing that tune should they match up in the Finals. Regardless of whether Miami defeats Toronto on Wednesday in their season finale or the Lakers win their last two games, the Heat (57-24) already clinched home-court advantage over the Lakers in an NBA Finals matchup. Even if both teams finished with identical records, Miami has the edge because of its two regular-season wins over the Lakers.

The situation with Boston appears trickier. The Lakers would have home-court advantage over the Celtics (55-26) in an NBA Finals reunion if the defending champions win out, even if Boston wins its last game Wednesday against the New York Knicks. The Lakers would also get the edge if they have an identical record with the Celtics. Since the Lakers are 1-1 this season against the Celtics, the next tiebreaker for NBA Finals home-court advantage is determined by each team’s record against the opposing conference. The Lakers would receive home-court advantage against Boston because they have a 21-9 record against Eastern Conference teams, while the Celtics are 19-11 against the West. The only way Boston has the edge over the Lakers is if L.A. loses its last two games and the Celtics beat New York.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff can only watch the team's late collapse during a 120-106 loss to the Thunder on Sunday night at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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I'll be flipping from the Laker-Spurs to catch some of the Memphis @ Portland game tomorrow. They've split the season series thus far and are essentially playing for the #6 seed. I think its safe to say both teams would prefer Dallas over the Lakers. Memphis beat Dallas 2-1 and Portland tied with Dallas 2-2, with both of the Blazers wins coming in the last 30 days.

@LT, Jon K
From the book, The Worst Case Scenario:

HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A BEAR

1. Lie still and quiet.
Documented attacks show that an attack by a mother
black bear often ends when the person stops fighting.

2. Stay where you are and do not climb a tree to escape a bear.
Black bears can climb trees quickly and easily and will
come after you. The odds are that the bear will leave
you alone if you stay put.

3. If you are lying still and the bear attacks, strike back with anything you can.
Go for the bear’s eyes or its snout.

What to Do If You See a Bear

• Make your presence known by talking loudly,
clapping, singing, or occasionally calling out.
(Some people prefer to wear bells.) Whatever you
do, be heard—it does not pay to surprise a bear.
Remember, bears can run much faster than humans.

• Keep children close at hand and within sight.

• There is no guaranteed minimum safe distance
from a bear: the farther, the better.

• If you are in a car, remain in your vehicle. Do not
get out, even for a quick photo. Keep your windows
up. Do not impede the bear from crossing the road.

How to Avoid an Attack

• Reduce or eliminate food odors from yourself,
your camp, your clothes, and your vehicle.

• Do not sleep in the same clothes you cook in.

• Store food so that bears cannot smell or
reach it.

• Do not keep food in your tent—not even a
chocolate bar.

• Properly store and bring out all garbage.

• Handle and store pet food with as much care
as your own.

• While all bears should be considered dangerous
and should be avoided, three types should be
regarded as more dangerous than the average bear.
These are:
Females defending cubs.
Bears habituated to human food.
Bears defending a fresh kill.

Be Aware
There are about 650,000 black bears in North
America, and only one person every three years is
killed by a bear—although there are hundreds of
thousands of encounters. Most bears in the continental
U.S. are black bears, but black bears are not always
black in color: sometimes their fur is brown or blond.
Males are generally bigger than females (125 to 500
pounds for males, 90 to 300 pounds for females).

Bears can run as fast as horses, uphill or
downhill.
• Bears can climb trees, although black bears
are better tree-climbers than grizzly bears.
• Bears have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
• Bears are extremely strong. They can tear cars
apart looking for food.
• Every bear defends a “personal space.” The
extent of this space will vary with each bear and
each situation; it may be a few meters or a few
hundred meters. Intrusion into this space is
considered a threat and may provoke an attack.
• Bears aggressively defend their food.
• All female bears defend their cubs. If a female
with cubs is surprised at close range or is separated
from her cubs, she may attack.
• An aggressive reaction to any danger to her cubs is
the mother grizzly’s natural defense.
• A female black bear’s natural defense is to chase
her cubs up a tree and defend them from the base.
• Stay away from dead animals. Bears may attack to
defend such food.
• It is best not to hike with dogs, as dogs can
antagonize bears and cause an attack. An
unleashed dog may even bring a bear back to you.

@Snake - I'll add this to your list. DON'T GO WHERE BEARS ARE! I'm just saying...lol. (Sorry Jon K and LT...I couldn't resist. Of course, I glad you both survived your encounter).

In case you missed this sonnet to Kobe written by Sherman Alexie...but printed by Kobe's biggest fan Henry Abbott.


http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/27294/sherman-alexie-on-aging-and-kobe-bryant

Two Games to Secure the #2 Seed... TIME TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RCUN7AL4gE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

KOBE BEAN BRYANT IS STILL "THE LOGO OF PROFESSIONALISM!"

LAMAR ODOM IS "THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE!"

"AND THE BEAST GOES ON..."

Pray tell me, sir, how would one know if said bear is habituated to human food?

Two guys see a bear in the woods. One says to the other, "When I say Go, we'll run as fast as we can." The other guy says, "Do you really think we can outrun a bear?" The first guy says, "Hell no. But I only have to outrun YOU!"

Black Bear, the sad truth

The hiking / camping trips sound glorious and scary, elements of a great story but my close encounter happened on a TV show a hundred years ago.

To make a short story shorter, once challenged, I wrestled a 450 LB black bear. I was instructed to put my shoulder into his chest, the match began... we danced for about 30 seconds or so, me employing every bit of footwork I'd ever learned on a basketball court to keep him from throwing me, when in a blink, the TV lights glared from the ceiling and I was on my back, looking up at his muzzle. He licked my face and chugged down a bottle of Pepsi.

In summation, my advice, avoid wrestling bears.

re: bears habituated to human food.

1. you find them in a parking lot.

2. you find them near a small town.

I saw a black bear running up a dirt road a few years back. At first, I thought it was the biggest dog I ever saw. He was hauling ass and was small - maybe 120 pounds. I didn't wait around to see if he had a mother... ;-)

Last year, our bench was young and fast. Our starters got a rest and the other team was off to the races. I just looked at Sasha and Jordon's stats from the Nets game the other night (they both started) and they both played very well. I guess Jordon wanted out. Sasha didn't. He just wanted to play. I don't think there is anyone who thinks he wouldn't have ended up with a lot of minutes this year considering the play of our guards. At this point, I would take Powel over Luke and Mbenga over the old guys. Why would you overhaul the whole bench on a team that has won two championships in a row? A lot of it is team chemistry. Sasha brought a lot to the team. He challenged Kobe during practice. He was a crazy defender. Players on other teams hated him. He was always the loudest supporter on the bench during tough away games and was a hero in Game 7. I don’t see how you trade away a hero from a championship team to save a small amount of money.

They tried to turn it back on against Portland and it fizzled. Then they really, really tried to turn it back on against OKC. Fizzle... POP!!! The Spurs may not bring their A game, but right now nothing is certain. The reserves may come in and kick our ass. The Spurs’ reserves are better than the starters on several teams that have beaten us in the last week or so. Right now, we are like a rotting carcass at the side of the road and all of the other teams are taking their turn at pecking out some vital organ... Sorry... I really, really hate to lose.

Turnovers, sloppy play, bad execution, stupid mistakes, and lack of drive and fire has been a specter on this teams shoulder all season. It seemed to have been vanquished after the all star break. Maybe we peaked too early. Maybe we should have bid our time more. Many of our players are getting old. They look tired and beat up. I pray we can turn it around because...

I am a Lakerholic.

Important to know about bears.

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Alaska Department of Fishing and Gaming is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert of bears while in the field. The department has posted the following notice:

We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle any bears.
We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.
It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity.
Outdoors men should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear feces has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

Maybe Mamba24 needs to come back? We need the positive vibes. Let's face it. This team can use all the help it can get. We are playing the Spurs. The playoffs have begun!!!

In a child's voice calling out like in the movie Shane - "Mamba24!"

Whoa, MVP888

Psycorp been a member of this blog for many years, something a short-timer like you wouldn't know.

So calling him a poser because you don't happen to agree with him on a particular subject is just soooo yoouuu.

you want respect? best to respect

Posted by: Troll Man | April 11, 2011 at 10:12 PM
=====

You're damn right that's meeee. His opinions are ALWAYS so anti-Lakers that fellow "long time" bloggers like you who give him a pass merely for his longevity should be ashamed of yourselves. As far as I'm concerned spoiled, unappreciative, bashing WHINERS like him aren't Lakers fans at all. They are the very reason why people around the world HATE Lakers fans! Frankly, when it comes to THOSE kind of fans, I'm WITH the people around the world who hate us.

Fans like Psycorp invite and deserve the wrath of REAL fans like meeee. So don't give me this "everyone is entitled to his or her opinion" crap. They do nothing but bash and criticize the team in a less than constructive manner, which tells me that he has either flushed the past 3 seasons down the toilet or is a POSER.

So tell me Troll Man, what is the probation period for fraternity pledges like meeee? A year? Two years? If you want to promote this blog as a fraternity and that mere longevity is the criteria for being a member in good standing (even if a blogger is a complete buzz kill like Psycorp), then go ahead and live with that ridiculous viewpoint. It's very premise is an insult.

Psycorp directed a comment at meeee, a season ticket holder who pays good money and who has gotten WAY more than his money's worth over the years, even this season (which hasn't even started yet). I'm not interested in your respect or anyone else who defends that poor excuse for a Lakers fan. As far as respect for Psycorp and alleged "Lakers fans" like him, you can shove it where the sun don't shine. They simply don't deserve any.

*yawnnn*

playoffs here yet?

re: bears habituated to human food.

1. you find them in a parking lot.
2. you find them near a small town.

Posted by: hobbitmage | April 12, 2011 at 06:36 AM
------------------

Thanks. I'm just a good ole city boy...who knew?

It will interesting to see how the game develops tonight.
The Spurs have nothing to play for, and could and Pop will probably rest Manu, Tony, and Tim. On the other hand the Lakers have plenty to play for, and it has nothing to do with playoff seeding. So, what if the Spurs scrubs throw a beat down on the Lakers. That couldn't happen, right?


@ART ... “Outdoors men should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear feces has little bells in it and smells like pepper.” ROFLMAO. That was perfect, Art. Beware of the bear. LOL.
…………………………………………
@JON K ... I hope you read the advice that the Snake posted, especially the part about NOT taking Rover with you on your hikes. Bears do NOT like dogs so leave Rover at home when you go on your next hike in that area. I can see you now with bells a-ringing and a cat on a leash.
…………………………………………
TOM

All this analysis about why the Lakers should win out the season....

How about because it's more fun than losing?

GO LAKERS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

"Last year, our bench was young and fast. Our starters got a rest and the other team was off to the races. I just looked at Sasha and Jordon's stats from the Nets game the other night (they both started) and they both played very well. I guess Jordon wanted out. Sasha didn't. He just wanted to play. I don't think there is anyone who thinks he wouldn't have ended up with a lot of minutes this year considering the play of our guards. At this point, I would take Powel over Luke and Mbenga over the old guys. Why would you overhaul the whole bench on a team that has won two championships in a row? A lot of it is team chemistry. Sasha brought a lot to the team. He challenged Kobe during practice. He was a crazy defender. Players on other teams hated him. He was always the loudest supporter on the bench during tough away games and was a hero in Game 7. I don’t see how you trade away a hero from a championship team to save a small amount of money.

They tried to turn it back on against Portland and it fizzled. Then they really, really tried to turn it back on against OKC. Fizzle... POP!!! The Spurs may not bring their A game, but right now nothing is certain. The reserves may come in and kick our ass. The Spurs’ reserves are better than the starters on several teams that have beaten us in the last week or so. Right now, we are like a rotting carcass at the side of the road and all of the other teams are taking their turn at pecking out some vital organ... Sorry... I really, really hate to lose.

Turnovers, sloppy play, bad execution, stupid mistakes, and lack of drive and fire has been a specter on this teams shoulder all season. It seemed to have been vanquished after the all star break. Maybe we peaked too early. Maybe we should have bid our time more. Many of our players are getting old. They look tired and beat up. I pray we can turn it around because...

I am a Lakerholic.


Posted by: Lakerholic | April 12, 2011 at 07:07 AM

"

Well said! This is part of what I ranted about a few days/weeks/months ago when I went on my self imposed sabbatical (sabbatical started days ago only) from watching this talented, but lazy team throw games away against opposition that sees a wounded EX-champ who will give them games as long as THEY stay focused 48 mainutes and make it hard for the Lakers who only seem to have 2 decent quarters in them. That includes Kobe, unfortunately. The thing Kobe doesn't have this year is the sense to quit forcing things and you can see/feel that tension in the whole team and coaching staff when he gets in one of those mano-a-mano modes and they stand around in one spot watching.

PJ should be in Montana already, as he is doing everything (meaning almost no in-game coaching) to make sure there is an early exit for this poor past 6(LO)-7(MB) man deep team.

Day two of TiVo experiment................

Day one worked well for my mental/physical health. I didn't watch it at all Sunday, but looked at box scores Monday AM, then watched the TiVoed game Monday afternoon. I already saw they lost. I already saw the stats, so watching it was not nearly as hard. I couldn't believe when I actually watched the recording that the Lakers had leads in the game late and still couldn't get in done! And what was that last 3 minutes!? Yikes!?

Sidebar: Anyway, I was reading posts bemoaning the poor season ticket holders who have to endure these losing streaks without Lakers' effort........... My take is a bit different, which is this: Granted season ticket holders put out a large amount of money to see the games, but my take is that they do get to see many good games, also, whereas the harder affect is on the poor slob (like me) who pays to see one or two specific games a year (because that is all they can afford or are able to travel to) sees this kind of weak effort, or even goes to a game to see Kobe/Pau/LO/AB and that one game is one he decides to sit or such equivalent circumstance. That occassional fan has no average to take on the Lakers whereas a season ticket holder got to see some good games along the way. Anyway, I feel much more angst for that poor one game ticket holder because his live average Laker game is crap, recently.

And it is true that the Spurs reserves do sometimes and probably will kick ass tonight, since they have seen worse teams and reserves do it to this lazy team time and time again.

And why is it that the Lakers outside shooters have a heck of a time hitting 3s or much of any outside shot in the other guys gym, but the other guys come to Staples and shoot lights out!? Does Staples have larger holes in the rims!? Just sayin'.............

I notice there's no It's game day!!! excitement. Hmmm.


I posted yesterday that there were still “sound reasons to expect the Lakers to dominate once the playoffs begin and return to being the great team that went 17-1 after the all-star break” because...
...
(1) “...there is no team in the NBA that can beat the Lakers when they bring their A-game and there is no way you can convince me that this group of players won’t be ready to play once the playoffs start. These guys have shown up 2 years in a row to become champs. I’m betting they will show up again and if they do, all bets are off because nobody can beat them.”
...
(2) “...the playoffs are entirely different animal than the regular season. Over a 7-game series, advantages like the Lakers have in size and length and experience are greatly magnified while team disadvantages like lack of size and length and inexperienced are mercilessly attacked.”
...
(3) “...this team is built for the playoffs to the extent that sometimes it stumbles and struggles as team after team get up for a chance to upset the champs. Ron Artest’s defense and Derek Fisher’s clutch shooting become big pluses for the Lakers once the playoffs start.”
...
It should be noted that each of the above points are sound reasons why the Boston Celtics will be our opponents in the NBA Finals. That’s why all this concern over losing home court advantage to the Bulls and Heat is not likely to matter in the end because chances are the Celtics will win the East.
...
The Bulls may well end up being the latest version of a team that is the best in the regular season but falls short in the playoffs like the Cavaliers of the last two seasons. DRose is a great point guard but run-and-gun fast breaking teams like Chicago usually find it tough going in the half-court oriented playoffs when everything slows down and size becomes a dominant factor.
...
Same with the Heat, who even lack a strong defender like undersized Jaokim Noah. We’ve already seen how LeBron chokes in the playoffs. Would you bet on him having a great playoffs now that he has a better surrounding cast? The Heat still have a fundamental roster imbalance with LeBron and Wade both needed the ball and Bosh being their only viable front court player.
...
Bottom line, despite their records, the two teams with the greatest experience, size, and motivation are the Lakers and the Celtics. Time will tell but I fully expect that they will be the two teams that meet in the NBA Finals this year. Anybody who wants to bet on the Spurs, Heat, or Bulls will lose because those teams don’t have what it takes to beat the Lakers or the Celtics in the playoffs.
…………………………………………
TOM


@NUGGETS COUNTRY ... Excellent point about the impact of a lousy game on a season ticket holder versus guys like us who go to one or two games a season. I just spent over $600 to take my grandson to see the Warriors destroy the Lakers the other night and that was a real bummer. Of course, I do have to add that my record in going to Lakers games at Oracle Arena before that was 9-0 so I really don’t have to complain. I would bet that the same is true of other “occasional” game attendees. The Lakers have been so good for so long that even we “occasional” game attendees have won a lot more games than we have lost. There are not many franchises whose fans can make that same claim.
..............................................
TOM

The Snake,

Thank you.

I've been told that bears do not react well to pepper spray and that spraying it even many yards away is enough to fend them off.

What do we you know of this?


What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

They are already planning for their gone fishing trips. These old, tired, and lazy legs ain't going anywhere deep in the playoffs. Jackson should have taken his 11 rings and run to Montana when he could.


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