After battling injuries, disputes and just general misfortune, the Los Angeles Lakers have finally moved into a playoff spot.
The Lakers are still far from playing great basketball, as Kobe Bryant has been forced to step up big time in order to pull out late victories against mediocre teams. However, last night the team looked perhaps as dominant as it has this whole season, beating the Chicago Bulls 90-81 at Staples Center.
Bryant took a break from scoring 40+ points, but was still relatively close to a triple double with 19 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
The biggest difference in the last couple of games has been Dwight Howard. The 27-year-old center has not looked like a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season, but is slowly finding his way. His back is still not 100 percent, but he has been a rebounding machine and made critical plays on the defensive as of late. In the Lakers last three games — all wins — Howard is putting up 20 points, 16.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game.
Despite being banged up, the Lakers have finally taken the eighth seed in the Western Conference, 0.5 games ahead of the Utah Jazz. The question is – can they hold onto it?