Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/16/13
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. If the Lakers climb to seven, they'll draw the Spurs, who they've played well this season. Any playoff series will be a challenge for the Lakers with Bryant injured but San Antonio is a more-favorable matchup than the first-place Oklahoma City Thunder. Additionally, the Grizzlies can give the Lakers some insurance by defeating the Jazz prior to the Lakers' tipoff on Wednesday against the Rockets. Memphis is still chasing the Clippers. Even if the Clippers finish as the higher seed (as a division winner), the Grizzlies would have home court advantage if they lock in a higher record. For example, if the Clippers finish at 55-27 and Memphis at 56-26, the Clippers would start the playoffs on the road as the four seed to the fifth-seeded Grizzlies. Memphis should be motivated to win instead of resting their starters (as teams commonly do once their playoff position is set). Ultimately what the Grizzlies and Jazz do are irrelevant if the Lakers beat the Rockets, securing a first-round matchup against the Spurs instead of the Thunder. -Eric Pincus
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker