The Lakers began life without Kobe Bryant with a 91-86 win over the Spurs.
Dwight Howard led the way with 26 points and 17 rebounds.
The Lakers are now a game and half ahead of the Jazz for the final playoff spot. If the Lakers win their finale on Wednesday they are in the playoffs.
The Jazz need to win their last two games and have the Lakers lose to get the final spot. Meantime, Kobe Bryant could be sidelined for up to nine months after tearing his Achilles tendon during Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.