At 13-17, the Lakers are still 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Dallas Mavericks (16-13), but the margin for error in the West is very thin.
The Lakers still have a lot of season left (52 games) but they'll need to outperform the Denver Nuggets (14-14), Minnesota Timberwolves (14-15), New Orleans Pelicans (13-14) and Mavericks -- while holding off the 13th-place Memphis Grizzlies (12-16).
After playing seven of their last nine on the road, the Lakers get a home-heavy stretch with games against the Philadelphia 76ers (8-20), Milwaukee Bucks (6-23), Jazz (9-23) and Nuggets (14-14) at Staples Center.
If the Lakers can sweep the four-game homestand, they'll find themselves back at .500 in time for a difficult stretch with 10 of 11 on the road.
A slump now could send the Lakers into a tailspin in a very competitive conference.
That's either a very bad thing for a franchise expecting, and expected, to win, or a very good thing with a talented crop of young players likely to come out in the NBA's June draft.