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Lakers can climb to sixth place in West with a win

December 02, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes strong to the basket against Nuggets defenders Jordan Hamilton, left, Timofey Mozgov and Andre Miller in the fourth quarter on Friday.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes strong to the basket against Nuggets defenders… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Heading into their Sunday night battle against the Orlando Magic, the Lakers (8-8) are seventh in the Western Conference. A victory would push them up to sixth, overtaking the 9-9 Utah Jazz.

A loss would drop the Lakers down to ninth place in a tie with the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

Within the Pacific Division, the Lakers will finish the night in third place regardless of outcome.  The Golden State Warriors and Clippers both have 10-6 records. The Lakers would climb within a game and a half with a victory Sunday. The fourth-place Phoenix Suns are 7-11.

Beating the Magic would lift the Lakers into a tie with the Boston Celtics with the 13th-best records in the league. A loss would drop the Lakers down to a tie for 16th (the Indiana Pacers, Nuggets and Mavericks all are 8-9).

Naturally it's early in the season. The Lakers expect to get Steve Nash (and Steve Blake) back at some point, which should improve the team significantly.

The negative for the Lakers is that they've only played five games on the road this season, fewer than any other franchise. Overall the Lakers are just 1-4 away from Staples Center.

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Preview: Lakers vs. Magic

Kobe Bryant calls Andre Iguodala 'Pippenesque'

Dwight Howard cashes in his second three-pointer

You can email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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