NBA analyst Isiah Thomas has come to the defense of the Los Angeles Lakers as the team has started to make a serious climb in the Western Conference playoff race.

Thomas made note of the fact that the Lakers were out of the playoff picture a month ago, but now the team is in eighth place in the Western Conference postseason structure.

More than the current position, Thomas pointed out that the Lakers are currently playing well and that they have a chance to enhance their playoff position. The idea that LeBron James has returned to the lineup and the team’s overall better play means that none of the other teams in the Western Conference want to play the Lakers in the playoffs, according to Isiah Thomas.

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“A month ago, we had the Lakers dead — and now they’re 8th. I forget who said nobody fears LeBron. Them 7 teams, 1 through 7, there’s not one team that’s saying ‘I want to play LeBron and the Lakers in the first round.’ ”

However, despite the former Detroit Piston’s confidence in the Lakers, their position as a major postseason threat is far from established. If the Lakers remain in 8th place, they will participate in the play-in portion of the NBA playoffs against the conference’s No. 9 team. If the standings don’t change in the final 6 games of the season, the Lakers would be matched up with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers have won 4 of their last five games, including a 121-110 road victory over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night.  The Lakers remain on the road Friday night when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.