Lonzo Ball Lakers
Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers calls a play during the second half of a game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on Jan. 9, 2018 in Los Angeles. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers (13-27) defeated the Sacramento Kings (13-27) 99-86 Tuesday night, winning their second straight game. The victory tied L.A and Sacramento in the Pacific Division and brought the Lakers out of last place in the Western Conference Standings.

Los Angeles is still well out of playoff contention in what’s been a difficult 2017-2018 NBA season. They trail the New Orleans Pelicans (20-19) by 7.5 games for the West’s final postseason berth, and the Lakers are 19.5 games behind the No.1 seed Golden State Warriors (33-8).

The Memphis Grizzlies (12-27) have the West's worst record.

Prior to wins against Sacramento and the Atlanta Hawks (10-30), the Lakers had lost nine games in a row. Atlanta has the NBA’s worst record, and Sacramento hasn’t been much better this year.

Much of the discussion about the Lakers has been in regard to the play of Lonzo Ball. The rookie continues to struggle with his shot, hitting less than 35 percent of his field goals and shooting 29.8 percent from three-point range. He’s excelled in other areas, leading the team with 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while playing above-average defense. Ball has two triple-doubles this season.

Led by rookie Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers’ top five scorers are all 25 years old or younger. Ball is seventh on the team in scoring.

It’s a much different story for Golden State, who's looked every bit like the heavy favorites to win the 2018 NBA Finals. After trailing the Houston Rockets (28-11) for much of the season, the Warriors are starting to run away with the conference's best record.

Golden State has a four-game lead over Houston and a 5.5-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs (28-14) in the West. The Warriors are one game ahead of the Boston Celtics (33-10) in the race for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Warriors have continued to dominate the rest of the league in spite of injuries to their top stars. Kevin Durant didn’t play in Monday’s 124-114 win over the Denver Nuggets (21-19), missing his third straight game with a calf strain.

Stephen Curry has missed 13 games this season, but he might be the leading MVP candidate if that wasn’t the case. The point guard is performing like he did two years ago when he became the award’s first-ever unanimous winner. Curry is averaging 27.9 points on 17.9 shots per game, adding 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists per contest.

Golden State has won five straight games since Curry returned from an ankle injury. The point guard has been just about unstoppable during that stretch, scoring 35.2 points on 18.8 shots per game. He’s made 63.4 percent of his threes in the last five games.