Los Angeles Lakers, The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard: The Los Angeles Lakers need to start winning now

The Los Angeles Lakers are tenth in the West and two games out of eighth. Could a LeBron James team really miss the playoffs?

The three most important games left this season for the Los Angeles Lakers are not what one would have expected going into the season. With 29 games to go in the regular season, Los Angeles is 10th in the Western Conference, 1.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.

Two of those three important games are against the Clippers, who the Lakers are currently 1-1 against this season. Winning them both would earn the Lakers the season series, which could be huge in determining playoff seeding, and who’s in and who’s out.

The other important game is against the Sacramento Kings, the current ninth-place team out West. The Kings are 1-2 against the Lakers this season, meaning Sacramento can even that series out by winning their one remaining game in Los Angeles against the Lake Show.

As surprising as it seems considering they’ve got LeBron James on their roster, the Lakers might need to win one or both of those series in order to make the playoffs. Los Angeles doesn’t have a cakewalk schedule the rest of the way, with four games remaining on their current six-game road trip plus a five-game trip out East that includes games in Milwaukee and in Toronto. In total, 16 of Los Angeles’ 19 remaining games are on the road. The Lakers are 11-14 thus far this year away from home.

The Lakers have a tough slate to finish the year too, as their last five games are at the Thunder, home against the Warriors, at the Clippers, home against the Jazz and home against the Trail Blazers. That’s five straight playoff teams, all that are slated to be vying for better seeds all the way through the end of the season.

Heading into that stretch in ninth would probably end poorly for Los Angeles. As nice as it is that LeBron committed to the Lakers for four years, the organization would surely rather not start off his tenure there with a trip to the lottery.

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