Pau Gasol drives to the basket against the Bobcats. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
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.
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.
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.
Pau Gasol's return will help, but to what extent?
Is Kobe Bryant shooting the Lakers out of games?
Lakers rally in fourth, top Warriors in overtime, 118-115
Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.