Bad news Los Angeles Lakers fans, the Utah Jazz defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, which means the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference is not secured quite yet. A loss by the Jazz would have solidified the Lakers playoff appearance, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
The Lakers now have to get ready for arguably their biggest game of the year, the one game that determines whether or not they’ll be making it into the postseason. The Lakers square off against the high-powered offense of the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
The Rockets are a talented team that will still be competing at their best, because they too have something to gain from a playoff victory, namely a better position in the rankings. But this shouldn’t deter the Lakers from going out and defeating the Rockets. The Lakers will have to focus one two critical factors in their upcoming game, namely the defensive end, and offensive dominance in the post.
The Rockets are primarily fast pace offense team that relies on the scoring capabilities of Jeremy Lin and James Harden in the backcourt to get victories, which is absolutely fine, but it presents one major flaw in their game, the lack of any kind of presence in the post.
This problem of the Rockets is very much a blessing for the Lakers, mainly because Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard should be able to totally control the frontcourt. Gasol and Howard have been playing well, and what is to say that their recent wave of success won’t translate into their upcoming game.
Both big men should handily control the glass, and put up huge numbers, in regards to points and rebounds, because their opponents are under-sized and less talented. The more difficult task at hand for those two is protecting the rim, which might not be too easy to do considering Lin and Harden are going to have no trouble getting by the Lakers backcourt.
Nonetheless, I’ve felt fairly confident about the outlook of the Lakers, and believe that the outcome of Wednesday’s game isn’t going to change that.