Heading into almost any NBA season this century, it has been unthinkable to even suggest a LeBron James-led team would miss the playoffs. After all, James has made it all the way to the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons.

That said, the Los Angeles Lakers are at serious risk of missing the playoffs. At 29-29, the Lakers are behind the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Can LeBron pull of a miracle after the All-Star break and get the Lakers to the postseason?

According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, he at least has a shot. Betting odds compiled by Vegas Insider give the 10th place Lakers the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference entirely, with 35/1 odds. It is worth noting that if the Lakers finish as the eighth seed in the west, they would most likely be matched up with the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

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LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers backs in on James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during a 111-106 Laker win at Staples Center on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images

After that, they have the seventh best odds to win the NBA Finals outright, with 60/1 odds. Basketball Reference gave the Lakers just a 6.7% chance to make the playoffs this week.

In order to get there, the Lakers need to do well in their final 24 regular season games. That could be easier said than done, as the Lakers play numerous teams that are either better than tham or are at least reasonably capable of beating them.

On the plus side, they get three games against the lowly New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers also have contests against other losing teams in the New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

That said, the Lakers end the season on a brutal stretch. They may want to get into playoff position before the season’s final five games, as those are against the Warriors, Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz. All five of those teams are in playoff spots right now.

The good news for the Lakers is four of those five games will be played at Staples Center.

Keeping James healthy will be the key to a Lakers playoff run. The star offseason acquisition missed 18 games with a groin injury this season. It took him a while to get back to form after he returned, but he had a vintage James performance against the Rockets on Thursday.

The Lakers came back from a 19-point deficit to beat a Western Conference contender to start their late-season push.

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