The belief here is the Lakers will make the playoffs, and the explanation as to why hasn't changed one iota throughout their whole peculiar, disappointing and staggeringly uneven season. The Lakers will make the playoffs just because. Because they're the Lakers. Because they always do. Because there's no way a team with so many individual accomplishments can collectively fail that badly. The answer for the Lakers is the same one that follows so many of the deepest questions in sports. Why is pitcher's mound 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate? Why is a safety worth two points? Why does Barry Melrose still insist on wearing hair from 1984? Just because, that's why. It isn't the soundest argument scientifically, but, when it comes to picking against Kobe Bryant – even with his odometer rolling into six digits – science often doesn't matter. Just ask Mark Cuban about trying to play psychological games with Bryant. Even if that wasn't Cuban's intent – and we're guessing it wasn't – Bryant conveniently took it that way and externally combusted all over the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers remain two games below .500 and three games outside the playoffs, but both those gaps will disappear over the final seven weeks of the regular season. Breaking down what remains on the schedule, we have the Lakers finishing 16-8 for a final record of 44-38, which should be good enough for the No. 8 seed. (Yes, we're ignoring the remaining schedules for Houston and Utah here, but there's a reason for that. No one reading this cares about the Rockets and Jazz.) Among the highlights, we have the Lakers splitting their remaining games against Golden State and Atlanta, defeating Chicago and Memphis at home and losing to Oklahoma City and the Clippers. - See more at: