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If the Los Angeles Lakers can get to the playoffs, it could be bad news for the rest of the Western Conference.
That comes straight from general manager Rob Pelinka, who said a healthy Lakers team is a dangerous Lakers team. And anyone who say the Lakers when healthy this season knows it.
“When we had an insignificant slew of injuries, we were fourth,” Pelinka said in an interview with Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet. “We were just a couple of games back from second and third seed in the West. We were fourth on Christmas Day when LeBron James got injured. But we can’t look at that as an excuse. I think you have to look at it as an opportunity.”
James missed 18 games with a groin injury. (The Lakers are reportedly concerned he may not be entirely recovered.)
Point guards Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo have also missed significant time. As it stands, the Lakers (28-29) are three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
But with James, Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and some playoff-savvy veterans, Pelinka seems to think the Lakers can make a run in the final 25 games … if they get and stay injury-free.
“Life is full of circumstances that you can’t predict, they fly at you, and you have to react to it,” Pelinka said. “You have to baton down the hatches and find a way to get through it. I think that, hopefully, with our team we’ve gone through some of this adversity and it’ll meld us together.
“If we can get in the playoffs, I wouldn’t want to see us in any seven-game matchup, that’s for sure.”