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Lakers Closing In: Easier Schedule Raises Chance of Surpassing Suns

Feb 25, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Royce O'Neale (00) and center Jusuf Nurkic (20) during the fourth quarter at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Without LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers mounted an impressive comeback from a 19-point deficit to secure a double-overtime victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

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The Lakers have extended their winning streak to four games, marking their 40th win of the season. This streak places them just two games behind the Phoenix Suns, who recently suffered a horrendous defeat against the San Antonio Spurs, missing Victor Wembanyama.

Analyzing the upcoming schedules of both teams reveals a compelling possibility of the Lakers, who currently hold the tiebreaker, surpassing the Suns in the Western Conference standings.

Despite facing a long road trip for their next five games, Los Angeles encounters opponents with relatively lower records: the 24-48 Memphis Grizzlies, 41-32 Indiana Pacers, 27-45 Brooklyn Nets, 23-49 Toronto Raptors, and the 14-58 Washington Wizards.

Conversely, Phoenix is set to tackle an incredibly challenging series of games, including encounters with the 51-21 Denver Nuggets, 50-21 Oklahoma City Thunder, 44-28 New Orleans Pelicans, 44-28 Cleveland Cavaliers, and the 49-22 Minnesota Timberwolves.

Credit to @RyB_311

Furthermore, the Suns‘ final five games of the season present a similarly tough lineup, featuring matchups against teams like the Clippers and Kings.

If the Lakers do manage to overtake the Suns, it would leave Phoenix needing to secure two wins in the play-in tournament just to reach the playoffs.

In such a scenario, the Suns would face off against either the Houston Rockets or the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the play-in tournament.

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