The playoff picture shifted on Monday night as the Houston Rockets (45-36) lost on the road in Phoenix to the Suns.
The idle Lakers (44-37) have one game remaining - against the same Rockets who are now just one game ahead. By virtue of a better conference record, a Lakers' victory would secure the seventh seed in the Western Conference, much to the delight of Kobe Bryant, who is out with a torn Achilles' tendon.
What a season. After all the crap from this past year we still have a shot at the 7th seed! LakersNation unreal letsgetit Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 16, 2013
There's still no guarantee the Lakers even make the playoffs. If they lose to the Rockets on Wednesday, coupled with a Utah Jazz victory in Memphis against the Grizzlies, the Lakers will finish in ninth place.
The chance to climb to sixth place evaporated when the Golden State Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. The remaining possibilities are the seventh, eighth and ninth positions in the West.