"I wouldn't want to [play] us in any seven-game matchup, that's for sure," general manager Rob Pelinka said when asked about the Purple and Gold potentially reaching the playoffs, per Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet.
Thursday was a day fans may look back at come season's end as a turnaround moment for the Lakers.
They appeared well on their way to a third straight defeat when they fell behind by 18 points in the first half against Boston a mere two days after a stunning 42-point blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers. However, they battled back, and Rajon Rondo gave them the win by collecting the loose ball after Al Horford swatted Brandon Ingram and drilling a buzzer-beater.
Had the ball bounced a different direction, there would be questions about Los Angeles after it missed on Anthony Davis prior to Thursday's trade deadline.
Instead, it is just 1.5 games back in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference behind a Los Angeles Clippers team that traded its leading scorer, Tobias Harris, to the Philadelphia 76ers. It also has the best player in the league leading the way in LeBron James, and the King is coming off 13 straight playoff appearances and eight straight NBA Finals trips.
Rather than folding on the road following all the drama of the trade deadline and an embarrassing loss to the Pacers, the Lakers battled back and potentially set the tone for the rest of the season.
A first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors would surely end quickly for Los Angeles, but it could pose a threat to any other team in the Western Conference. As long as James is on the floor, the Lakers will have one of the all-time greats who can take over a game or series at a moment's notice.
They have to reach the playoffs first, but they took a significant step in that direction Thursday.