Lakers guard Kobe Bryant loses control of the ball as he slips in the second… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers (41-37) muscled out a win on Tuesday night at Staples Center with a 104-96 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
On Wednesday in Portland, they'll have the chance to achieve something they've failed at 15 straight times -- winning two games on consecutive nights.
More importantly, a victory over the Trail Blazers would keep the Lakers in eighth place ahead of the 41-38 Utah Jazz.
The Lakers lost their very first back-to-back set of the year in Portland on Halloween as the Lakers began the year 0-2.
Seven times the Lakers have won on the first night but couldn't close the deal in the second. In four cases the Lakers rebounded from a first-game loss - in four they lost both games.
Can the Lakers finally get it done in their very last chance?
"It's a good time to start," said Kobe Bryant after the Lakers' victory over the Hornets.
The Jazz own the head-to-head tiebreaker. If Utah doesn't lose again through their final three games, the Lakers will need to win every one of their last four games to finish in eighth place ahead of the Jazz.
Lakers slide back into eighth place with 104-96 win over Hornets
Metta World Peace wanted to return early from injury to help teammates
Pau Gasol: Lack of security bothersome, hopes to stay with Lakers
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.