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The Los Angeles Lakers Sneak into the Mix

After an underwhelming start to the season, 17-time NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers are slowly but steadily getting in the mix of things in the league. The Purple and Yellow are 7-5 since their win at home over the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 16 — where they lost Anthony Davis, with the 13th-best mark in the association since that date.

The Lakers have won a season-best five straight games without him, going 7-5 overall heading into Monday's game against the Nuggets, wrapping up a two-game road trip.

Over the last 20 games, they are 10-10, and since that game against Denver, the Lakers are 23rd in defensive rating and 22nd in opponent points.

King James puts Onus on Himself

Since AD injured his foot last month, four-time MVP, Lebron James has been on a scoring spree, averaging 34.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists on 58.5% shooting.

More than just the stats, the 18x All-Star has been playing like he’s 10 years younger. He’s showing more energy, hustle and determination than the younger players on both teams.

AD on the Bounce

After a brief losing streak shortly after Davis' injury, the Lakers managed to figure things out, as they have now won five games in a row and six of their last seven.

Now the plan is for Davis to ramp up his rehab later this week when the team returns to Southern California. That ramp-up will “involve aquatic pool workouts and running on an altered-gravity treadmill to keep the big man’s full weight off his foot while it continues to heal” according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Is Play-In Tourney Possible?

Overall, the Lakers, while certainly hobbled, have played well enough to give themselves a chance to make the play-in tournament this season. That doesn’t mean that they will, but they still have a chance.

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