Lakers next 4 games: all at home, good opponents are LAC, BOS, and POR
Rockets next 4 games: 3 are on the road, the one at home is vs OKC
Jazz next 4 games: 2 are on the road, the ones at home are vs GSW and OKC
If the Lakers can win out their next 4 at home they will be right in the race. Lakers are playing against 3 great teams but they are at home while Houston and Utah are going on the road. This is the crucial stretch which will probably determine if the Lakers could get in or will be out of it by the time those game are over.
They played very well in Miami for 3 quarters, then in the 4th quarter they cost themselves with too many turnovers. If they keep playing like that, and actually feed Howard the ball more, they should make the playoffs. There's too many big names on this team to miss the playoffs.