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Lakers near top eight in the Western Conference

Pau Gasol drives to the basket against the Bobcats.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers may have finally climbed from rock bottom after losing four straight games. Now the team has won four in a row after dipping to 9-14 while waiting for Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to get healthy.

Gasol and Nash are back and the Lakers are suddenly 13-14, surviving multiple injuries.

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With their second victory of the season over Golden State (18-10), the Lakers have closed to within 4 1/2 games of the fifth-seeded Warriors. The two teams meet again later in the season, giving the Lakers room to make up significant ground with a sweep.

The fourth-place San Antonio Spurs (20-8) have struggled recently but are still 20-8. The Lakers will play the Spurs two more times as well, but they’ll need to win at a very high rate to make up the 6 1/2 games.

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Meanwhile the Lakers are now within a game and a half of the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-11), Houston Rockets (14-12) and Denver Nuggets (15-13). They’re also slightly behind the Portland Trail Blazers (13-12) and Utah Jazz (14-14) but the Lakers are slowly inching toward playoff position.

The Lakers play both the Nuggets and Blazers before the end of the year.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.


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