For the Los Angeles Lakers, not all games are created equal.
Caddy though it may be to consider one or more games more important than others, the truth is, it has to happen.
When chasing what could prove to be an elusive playoff berth, there's no use pretending that games against the Orlando Magic are just as important to win as an April bout against fellow bubble teams like the Houston Rockets or Portland Trail Blazers.
Presently, the Lakers are 22-26 and sit 3.5 games outside the Western Conference playoff picture. With the first six seeds essentially etched in stone, Los Angeles is one of five teams who are vying for one of the two remaining slots.
Do the Lakers have what it takes to climb back above .500, beat out at least three other hungry convocations and ultimately clinch their eighth consecutive playoff berth?
The journey toward the postseason is an arduous one, but it becomes well within reach if Hollywood's finest can emerge victorious from a handful of games that simply cannot be lost.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted.