NBA Playoff Standings: Lakers pull out huge win to stay ahead of Jazz


Kobe Bryant scored 47 points against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night to help the Lakers build a bigger lead over the Jazz in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Lakers have been disappointing this year, but it's clear that Kobe Bryant will do everything in his power to make sure the team reaches the 2013 NBA Playoffs. On Wednesday night, L.A.'s sieve-like defense ceded 38 points and nine assists to Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard, but Kobe turned that into an afterthought by pouring in a season-high 47 points on 14-27 shooting and 18-18 from the free throw line. Bryant exploded for 28 of his 47 in the first half and then came up with some big plays down the stretch to help seal the game.

With the win, the Lakers moved one full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the No. 8 spot in the West. The Lakers have home games against the Warriors, Spurs and Rockets left on the schedule. The Jazz own the head-to-head tiebreaker over L.A., but they need to make up a full game somewhere in their remaining schedule (vs. Minnesota, at Minnesota, at Memphis).

ESPN Playoff Odds peg the Lakers with a 73.5 percent chance to make the post-season. Basketball-Reference lists L.A. with a 79.5 percent to grab the eighth seed.

In other action, the Spurs lost to the Nuggets on Wednesday, which means the Oklahoma City Thunder moved to the top overall spot by virtue of the secondary tiebreaker (conference record). That means OKC controls its own destiny down the stretch when it comes to the No. 1 spot in the bracket.

1 x - Oklahoma City 57 21 .731 - Won 1 7-3
2 y - San Antonio 57 21 .731 - Lost 1 5-5
3 x - Denver 54 24 .692 3 Won 5 8-2
4 y - LA Clippers 52 26 .667 5 Won 3 6-4
5 x - Memphis 53 25 .679 4 Won 2 7-3
6 x - Golden State 45 33 .577 12 Won 1 7-3
7 x - Houston 44 34 .564 13 Won 1 7-3
8 LA Lakers 42 37 .532 15 ½ Won 2 6-4
Utah 41 38 .519 16 ½ Lost 1 7-3
Dallas 38 40 .487 19 Lost 1 6-4
Portland 33 45 .423 24 Lost 9 1-9
Minnesota 29 49 .372 28 Lost 2 5-5
Sacramento 28 50 .359 29 Won 1 4-6
New Orleans 27 52 .342 30 ½ Lost 2 4-6
Phoenix 24 55 .304 33 ½ Won 1 1-9

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