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Kyle Kuzma says the Lakers are watching the standings and ‘obviously’ know they have to gain ground

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The Lakers know they’re playing for their playoff lives, according to Kyle Kuzma.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night was a big night for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Not only did they bounce back from dropping back-to-back games to bottom-10 teams with a 125-119 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, but all of the teams they needed to lose on Thursday lost (with the exception of the San Antonio Spurs).

However, even with almost everything going right for them on Thursday, the Lakers are still three games back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, with just 21 games left in the regular season.

The players in the locker room know that their road to the playoffs isn’t going to be an easy one, and Kyle Kuzma said their plan is to take it one game at a time.

“Obviously we’ve got to gain ground. Everybody knows it, everybody sees it. We could have gained some more ground the past two games, but we’ll take it one win at a time. Every win is valuable to us,” Kuzma said.

That might sound cliché — because it is — but a team as young and inexperienced as the Lakers can’t look too far ahead on their schedule.

Sure, some games are more of a draw than others, for both the players and fans, but for a team that has lost to the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies this season, every game should be played with playoff-level intensity.

The Lakers will continue their quest for one of the final playoff spots on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center. The following day, they’ll travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns.

If they can get one of those games to go their way, they’ll stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. If not, their postseason aspirations might have to be put aside for next season.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.