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Bet on the NBAThe Lakers are having a tough time of it right now, dropping five straight games leading up to the playoffs.

The team has gone from potentially capitalizing on the San Antonio Spurs' losing streak to take the first position in the Western Conference to experiencing their own slide toward mediocrity. They are now in danger of losing the second spot in the playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks.

A five-game losing streak is the worst that Los Angeles has experienced since 2007, when the team acquired Pau Gasol. With two games left on the schedule, it becomes extremely important for the Lakers to get back into their winning groove. If they are unable to find their rhythm this week, they may lose home court advantage in the second round of the playoffs if they play the Mavs.

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This is arguably the first time this season that the Lakers have felt some pressure to play well. Critics had pointed to their apathetic, almost bored, playing style for the first half of the season. But then the team went on a hugely successful streak after the All-Star Break, almost catching the Spurs for the No. 1 season record.

But that was before the lethargic play returned in these past five games, and Los Angeles has looked lethargic. They have become too willing to play lazy defense, turn the ball over, and take poor shot choices. In their latest loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers fell to a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter, including five turnovers late in the game.

One of the two games that the Lakers must win is a tough matchup against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. Los Angeles will be trying to keep their No. 2 ranking in the Western Conference, while the Spurs also have a lot riding on the game. A win will be important to keep the Chicago Bulls away from the best record in the league and giving Chicago home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

 

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