The Lakers hit Thanksgiving with an 8-8 record, putting the team in 11th place in the Western Conference standings.
Despite playing without Kobe Bryant (Achilles' tendon) and most of the season without Steve Nash (back), the Lakers are only three games behind the fourth-place Clippers (11-5).
While the Lakers are battling to make the top eight in the Western Conference, they'd be among the best in the East.
The Atlanta Hawks, who have an identical 8-8 record, are in third place in the Eastern Conference behind the Indiana Pacers (14-1) and Miami Heat (12-3). The Chicago Bulls are also at .500 (7-7).
The San Antonio Spurs are the top team in the Western Conference at 13-2. The Portland Trail Blazers have impressed with a 13-3 start, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder (10-3).
The Lakers are within striking range of the Houston Rockets (11-5), Dallas Mavericks (10-6), Denver Nuggets (8-6), Golden State Warriors (9-7), Phoenix Suns (8-7) and Memphis Grizzlies (8-7).
A win in Detroit on Friday would give the Lakers a winning record entering December.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.
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