Lucky Lakers on wheel of fortune

Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant have helped the Lakers climb back into the postseason picture. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

It's become an article of faith that the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten better, that they've "figured it out." They're 20-11 over their past 31 games and they clawed their way to three games above the .500 threshold with a close win at Indiana on Friday night. The Lakers, once looking likely to sit out the postseason, are now very likely to make it. They are on the verge of becoming the proverbial team you don't want to meet in the playoffs.