first_imgThere are still 28 games left in the regular season, but the Lakers are settling into the No.6 spot in the Western Conference standings. They went into Thursday’s game trailing fifth-place Houston by four games and leading seventh-place Denver by three games. That likely would bring a first-round playoff series against Utah or San Antonio, and the Lakers would not have home-court advantage. They were the No. 7 seed last season and exited in the first round but not until pushing Phoenix to a seventh game. Jackson conceded that the Lakers have not played well in about three weeks, but he said the primary concern was how they closed the regular season. The Lakers went 19-11 after the all-star break last season. Odom had his strongest game since coming back from the sprained knee ligament. He attacked on the first play of the second half and drilled a key 3-pointer with the Lakers down by six in the third quarter. The Lakers started the third quarter on a 14-5 run to take a 68-61 lead but lost momentum when Smush Parker compounded a foul on Eric Snow by slamming the ball in frustration and drawing a technical foul. LOS ANGELES – Maybe it’s not a surprise for the coach who reached 900 wins faster than anyone in NBA history, but Phil Jackson arrived at Staples Center for Thursday’s game against Cleveland having been a part of only two five-game losing streaks in all his years of coaching. The last thing Jackson wanted to do was spend the four-day all-star break thinking about ways to correct the bearings of a Lakers team that had lost its course. Neither did his players. Such was the back story to the second Kobe Bryant-LeBron James showdown of the season. The Lakers had to end their four-game losing streak in order to reach the unofficial halfway point of the season on any sort of a positive note. But Cleveland held on for a 114-108 victory that sent the Lakers into the all-star break with a 30-24 record, and having lost five in a row and six of eight. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img