With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to tip off the final portion of the season with their eyes on making the playoffs. They currently sit in 10th place at 28-29, just two losses behind the Clippers and Sacramento Kings.
With the team almost back to 100 percent health, pending Lonzo Ball’s eventual return, the pieces are there for the Lakers to make a run. Expectations were high coming into the season, and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka still believes the team he and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson put together will reach their goal.
Pelinka recently spoke with Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet, explaining that the playoffs were always the goal and reminding that things were fine until the injury bug hit:
“There’s no question. That was the goal. When we had an insignificant slew of injuries, we were fourth. We were just a couple of games back from second and third seed in the West. We were fourth on Christmas Day when LeBron got injured. But we can’t look at that as an excuse. I think you have to look at it as an opportunity.”
Even with their recent struggles, Pelinka believes the adversity will bring the Lakers together and that they will be a dangerous team if they ultimately make the playoffs:
“Life is full of circumstances that you can’t predict, they fly at you, and you have to react to it. You have to baton down the hatches and find a way to get through it. I think that, hopefully, with our team we’ve gone through some of this adversity and it’ll meld us together. If we can get in the playoffs, I wouldn’t want to see us in any seven-game matchup, that’s for sure.”
Any team with LeBron James on it would be a dangerous one to see in the playoffs, but the Lakers have to get there first, and that will be no easy task. The schedule is a daunting one, but the Lakers also have two games remaining with the Clippers and one with the Kings, giving them an opportunity to gain a tiebreaker advantage over each.
The path to the playoffs is there for the Lakers and there is plenty of time to accomplish that goal. If they ultimately fail in doing so, Pelinka and Magic will be hard at work this summer ensuring that doesn’t happen again.
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