LeBron James: Lakers given BIG playoff challenge ahead of Pelicans clash

That is the prediction of NBA expert J.E Skeets.

The Lakers beat the Houston Rockets on Thursday night 111-105 to move closer towards the playoff places.

Currently they are tenth in the Western Conference, two-and-a-half games back from the eighth placed LA Clippers.

LeBron claimed on Wednesday that he had ‘activated playoff mode’ ahead of the final stretch of the season.

He has not missed out on the playoffs in 13 years, but faces a tough challenge to get them to the postseason this year.

The Lakers’ schedule for the remainder of the season makes for grim reading, as they face games against the Boston Celtics, two meetings with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, and a tough clash with the Golden State Warriors.

But despite their rough schedule, Skeets believes that the Lakers can still leapfrog the Clippers.

He claims that to do so, they will have to win 45 games in total.

“If you look back at the Western Conference over the last five seasons, last year it took 47 wins to get in,” Skeets said on The Starters.

“Obviously, that’s a tonne [of wins].

“But the year before that it was 41, the year before that, 41, the year before that 45 and the year before that 49.

“So on average, approximately 45 wins is your magic number.

“And if this is the case, the Lakers have to win 16 of their last 24 games.

“They’ve got to start killing off the bad teams, because if you look at the last week or two of their regular season, it’s a murderers row of really good Western teams.”

The Lakers take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.

It will be the first meeting between the two teams since Davis was unable to secure a deal away from New Orleans.

source: express.co.uk