Over the last week or so, the Lakers have started to sputter a little bit when it comes to making up ground in the playoff race. They’ve won the important game against New Orleans but dropped contests to New York and Houston.
It’s the nature of the Western Conference playoff race but it’s a frustrating set of results for the Lakers. Still, win a pivotal game against Dallas on Friday to kick off your four-game homestand and things again feel quite a bit better.
But this homestand will be important for the Lakers to build some separation and move back up the playoff race.
As things stand heading into Thursday’s game, the Lakers are the 10th seed, a half-game behind the Thunder and a full game behind the Timberwolves and Mavericks while sitting a half-game ahead of the Jazz and Pelicans.
Games to Watch
Thunder at Raptors - After looking set to tank away the season, OKC is back in the thick of things and ahead of the Lakers in the play-in spots.
Warriors at Hawks - The big note in this match-up is the Warriors will be without Draymond Green, who picked up his 16th technical foul against the Clippers on Wednesday.
Timberwolves at Bulls - Minnesota slipped up against the Celtics to stay just a game above the Lakers, which helps ease some of the pain of LA’s loss to Houston.
Pelicans at Rockets - New Orleans is really slipping down the standings after being the No. 1 seed at one point this season. If they don’t steady the ship, they could fall out of this race entirely.
Celtics at Trail Blazers - Don’t think of this as rooting for the Celtics to win, but rooting for the Blazers to lose.
Magic at Clippers - The Clippers absorbed a 50-point game from Steph Curry to win on Wednesday but the defense is very clearly still an issue.
Timberwolves at Raptors - After being kind in letting the Lakers beat them, Toronto could throw them an even bigger bone with a couple of important home wins this week.
Warriors at Grizzlies - Here’s to hoping Golden State’s road woes aren’t fixed this late in the season.
Celtics at Jazz - It’s gross how much we need the Celtics to win this weekend.
Suns at Thunder - Suddenly, Phoenix is a couple of losses away from being sucked into this mess as well. For now, they’re far enough away that you should root for a Thunder loss.
Pelicans at Rockets - You do not have to scratch your eyes. Houston is playing New Orleans at home in consecutive games this weekend.
Clippers at Trail Blazers - This is sort of a win-win, but Portland is really falling off the pace now and, at seven games under .500, might have played their way out of the play-in race.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.