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Lakers could be forced to rely on Suns, Warriors for playoff fate

Over the last month, the Lakers have been one of the best teams in the league, let alone the Western Conference. Since the trade deadline on Feb. 9, the Lakers are 8-4, tied with the Nuggets for the sixth-best record in that span. Only the Kings and Suns along with Denver have a better record over that stretch.

The problem is that they were a sub-.500 team before that span and are playing a long game of catch-up now. And the consequence of that is relying on teams typically looked upon as rivals for help in their playoff race, ranging from the Celtics to the Suns and Warriors.