With the Los Angeles Lakers currently on a two-game winning streak, head coach Mike D’Antoni has started to field questions about this team competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Following the win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, D’Antoni said the following about this team’s playoff chances according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Mike D'Antoni says the team isn't thinking about the playoffs, "we need to keep plugging along." When I asked Pau, he agreed.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 19, 2014
Obviously, with only a total of three wins in the last 15 games, the Lakers competing in a highly competitive conference doesn’t seem likely. Although there’s a lot of basketball yet to be played and plenty of players still on the mend, including Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers have a long way to go before being included in the playoff conversation in the West.
Currently, the Lakers are sitting in 12th place in the West behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21), Denver Nuggets (20-19) and Memphis Grizzlies (20-19) with a 16-25 record. The Phoenix Suns are in the eighth spot in the West with a record of 22-17.
Despite the fact that this team is still far from a playoff-caliber squad, the two consecutive wins on the road is a good sign that the team may finally be coming together.
Consistent play of Pau Gasol and the emergence of Kendall Marshall are signs that things are headed in the right direction for the Lakers. The four games left on the road trip will definitely test this team and their will to win as they will now jump on a plane to Chicago in order to face the Bulls on Monday night followed by the Miami Heat on Thursday in South Beach.
After facing LeBron James and company in Miami, the Lakers will take on the Orlando Magic (Jan. 24) and New York Knicks (Jan. 26) before heading back to Staples to face the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 28.
Pau Gasol On Halfway Point Of The Season, Playoffs, And Ryan Kelly