The Lakers have done themselves no favors in the last five days or so, losing games to bottom-of-the-league Houston and play-in rivals Dallas. Both losses were particularly frustrating for differing reasons and certainly made it feel like things were coming crashing down on the Lakers this season.
The important context to note in all of this is that everyone in the play-in race is experiencing these types of losses. Houston also beat the Pelicans after the Lakers, OKC lost to the Raptors and Golden State lost to the Hawks as part of a 3-game losing streak.
While it can certainly feel like opportunities missed — and they are — the end result after all of that is the Lakers are still 10th in the play-in and 1.5 games away from Dallas in sixth. Not much has changed in that regard.
Games to Watch
Timberwolves at Knicks - The Knicks have won three straight and a fourth could vault the Lakers up a spot in the standings on Monday night.
Warriors at Rockets - Golden State’s road woes and the Rockets’ newfound form will go head-to-head with the Warriors quickly falling down the standings.
Mavericks at Grizzlies - Ja Morant won’t yet be back but neither will Luka Doncic for Dallas, who lost back-to-back games to Memphis in the last 10 days.
Kings at Jazz - Sacramento suddenly has an outside chance at the No. 1 seed while Utah just won’t go away and are currently tied with the Lakers.
Spurs at Pelicans - New Orleans is about a loss or two from really falling out of the race and one to San Antonio would certainly feel like a backbreaker.
Thunder at Clippers - The Clippers have seemingly gotten their act together — frustrating, I know — but another win from them would help the Lakers.
Warriors at Mavericks - Both teams currently sit a little more than an arm's reach away from the Lakers but a couple of timely losses again and they’re right back into the mud.
Hawks at Timberwolves - With Anthony Edwards potentially out with injury, this is a very crucial period for Minnesota.
Trail Blazers at Jazz - The Trail Blazers are fully out of the running but they can still do some damage, however unlikely, in the play-in race.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.