LeBron, Lakers have ninth-toughest remaining schedule

LeBron James and the Lakers are slated to face the Clippers on both opening night and Christmas Day.

It wasn’t going to be easy for the Los Angeles Lakers, not after LeBron James missed 18 games and the Anthony Davis trade rumors haunted most of the roster for a good month.

As it stands, the Lakers (28-29) are three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot with 25 games to go. And what a 25 games they will be.

According to Tankathon.com, the Lakers have the ninth-toughest remaining schedule — with opponents averaging a .520 winning percentage.

The Lakers toughest opponents include the Milwaukee Bucks (twice), Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bucks sport the league’s best record, the Raptors the second-best, and the two-time defending champion Warriors have the best in the West.

The good news?

The Lakers still have dates with the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls … and oh yeah, Davis and the Pelicans.

James hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2005 and this probably isn’t the stage of his career in which he wants to miss it again. But both the Clippers and Sacramento Kings are young, hungry, ahead of the Lakers and extra determined to make it.

Also, according to Tankathon’s rankings, both the Kings (21st toughest) and Clippers (23rd) have easier schedules than LA.