The OKC Thunder came into Staples last night and handed L.A. its fifth straight loss, putting the defending champs’ backs against the wall when it comes to maintaining the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. ESPN reports: “Maybe it puts us in a position that we need to be in where we have to [win],’ said Lamar Odom. ‘We haven’t been in one of those in a long time.’ … The Lakers’ 17-1 mark out of the All-Star break gates was fueled by the team goal of catching Dallas for the No. 2 seed in the West. Once they appeared to be comfortably ahead, a loss to a hungry Denver team caused them to pump the breaks. They ended up veering off the road. ‘We grew complacent a little bit,’ said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. ‘We got caught.’ Their five-game skid undid their success, as the Mavericks are now tied with the Lakers at 55-25. (Although the Lakers hold both of the first two tiebreakers by virtue of winning the Pacific Division and taking the season series 2-1). Suddenly, L.A.’s back-to-back games against San Antonio on Tuesday and Sacramento on Wednesday aren’t just about resting starters in advance of the playoffs (as Bryant said the Spurs are likely to do). It’s about fighting to make sure that 17-of-18 run wasn’t in vain. ‘We got to a point that we need to bounce back. Obviously we must win these next two. There’s no room for error,’ Pau Gasol said. ‘We got to a point now where every game will be a playoff game for us. That’s how important these next two games are. They’re must wins if we want to keep that second seed.’”