As they struggle to secure a playoff berth, the Lakers got crucial help Wednesday as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Jazz, 113-96, in Utah.
With the loss, Utah falls to 39-37 with six games remaining. The Lakers (39-36) have for the moment climbed into eighth place with seven games left.
The Lakers will make the playoffs if they win all seven, but Utah holds the head-to-head tiebreaker should the two teams finish with the same record (by virtue of the Jazz's 2-1 regular-season record against the Lakers).
The Lakers play only one game outside of Staples Center over the final stretch -- at Portland on the second night of a back-to-back. They also visit the Clippers on Sunday.