Down the stretch they come... With only 4 games remaining on their schedule, the Los Angeles Lakers control their own playoff destiny.

With all the playoff spots locked up the Eastern Conference and essentially all the Western Conference spots locked up as well, it makes the race for the eighth and final playoff spot the must watch race down the stretch in the NBA.

The Lakers currently hold a half game lead over the Utah Jazz, while the Lakers have 4 remaining games, the Jazz only have three remaining.

All year long, the Lakers have been playing their own game of catch-up as they've tried to right the ship after the slow start, turning into the roller-coaster season that has transpired since.

Really only playing the "Big 4", Gasol, Howard, Nash and Bryant for about one fourth of the season together due to injuries, its really an accomplishment if you think about it what this team has been able to strive for even amid the constant criticism and uncertainty.

If you were of to ask the Lakers at the All-Star break, sitting out of the playoff picture, that they could control their own destiny with four games remaining on their schedule, it would be a easy answer for all.

The Utah Jazz have back to back games vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves before ending the season against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Lakers play two of their final four games on the road, in which they play Portland and Houston with two home games mixed in the middle as they will host Golden State and San Antonio.

Looking at both teams schedules, the Jazz may be favored as far as their opponents go, but anytime you have the "Black Mamba" Kobe Bryant, the pendulum will swing in your favor.

If the Lakers do make the playoffs, they will again have the opportunity to write their own script to the ending of their season, however if they do fall short, it will be clear that the only people the Lakers will be able to blame will be themselves.