There's no question the Los Angeles Lakers are playing better basketball. If this were early in the season, the team would be near the top of the standings in the Western Conference.
But it's almost March, and the Lakers are desperately trying to make up for lost ground that's threatened to bury them and their season before they get to the playoffs in April.
The Lakers have won seven of their last 11 games and, before losing Monday night's track meet to the Denver Nuggets, were on a three-game winning streak that included big emotional victories against the Dallas Mavericks and at home versus the Boston Celtics.
Kobe Bryant poured in 38 points against Dallas and seemed to turn back the hands of time as he took over the game in the fourth quarter and couldn't miss.
"It's just what I'm supposed to do," Bryant said to the L.A. Time's Mike Bresnahan. "It's about that time."
But time may be catching up with Bryant's team.
You get an odd feeling watching the Lakers; a feeling that they might make the playoffs, but if they do, will be dispensed pretty quickly.
L.A. is battling but, after losing to Denver, are still just 28-30. The Lakers need a small miracle and a lot of wins just to qualify for the postseason. And they'll need to overcome some pretty major bumps and road blocks along the way just to get there.