The 8th seed currently is projected to finish 41-41, the west is weaker now, so the OP's projections are irrelevant. With some fringe playoff teams like the Wolves being injury ravaged, the Mavs just getting old, etc, I can see the west finally sending a team to the playoffs that finishes .500. The Lakers are 3 games out. Of course they can still make it.
That being said, they are gone quick. They are killing Kobe with minutes, I don't trust their defense or bench, and if they make it, it will have worn that roster out.