Stephen Dunn / Getty Images (mbpovgp720121010223611/600 )
The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-87, on Friday night at Staples Center to improve to 15-15 while the Blazers dropped to 14-14.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are 13-13, making it a three-way tie in the standings for eighth place. The Lakers have split two games against the Blazers but have yet to play the Wolves.
With injuries and inconsistent play, the Lakers have been on the outside of playoff position for some time. Now they're seeded ninth in the Western Conference, behind the Blazers but ahead of the Wolves.
Standings will fluctuate widely throughout the rest of the season but the Lakers are closing in on playoff position.
In a three-way tie among teams not leading a division, the first tiebreaker is "best winning percentage in all games among the tied teams."
The Blazers have a single victory over the Wolves in the books, which makes Portland 2-1 against the Lakers and Wolves. The Lakers are 1-1 and the Wolves are 0-1.
The Lakers don't see either team until Feb. 1, when they visit the Wolves. Minnesota will host the Blazers on Jan. 5.
Lakers retire Jamaal Wilkes' jersey
Dwight Howard, Lakers whip Blazers, 104-87
Matt Barnes calls time with Lakers 'a bad situation'
Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.