Lakers’ Climb Requires Heavy Road Work

.

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The last time the Los Angeles Lakers won on the road was Dec. 22 at Golden State, the night of Steve Nash‘s long-awaited return. That comeback victory seemed like the spark L.A. needed to finally get going.

Instead, the Lakers are 4-7 since and have lost four consecutive road games, putting them 11th in the West at 17-21 and three games out of the final playoff spot. Only the Clippers (22) and Brooklyn Nets (22) have played more home games than the Lakers (21), so after Thursday’s big home date against the Heat (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT), L.A. will pack its bags for a daunting 10 road games among the 16 overall it has left leading into the All-Star break. 

The problem? L.A. is 5-12 away from home, netting fewer road wins than only Phoenix and Sacramento in the West and Charlotte, Detroit, Toronto and Washington in the East.

The big test will be a 12-day, seven-game journey spanning January 30 through February 10. It could ultimately position the Lakers for a run up the standings or for a rare ticket to the lottery.

The good news for the purple and gold? Four of the seven games are against teams currently out of the playoff mix, and the final five are against teams from the weaker Eastern Conference (L.A. is 8-5 against the East). The bad news? Three of the final four games are against some of the East’s tougher teams in Brooklyn, Boston and Miami (L.A. is 1-0 against the Nets).

After the All-Star break, the Lakers will have 28 games remaining split evenly between home and road, but grouped in lopsided bunches. They’ll play 10 of 15 March games on the road and six of eight at home in April.

A breakdown of the Lakers’ schedule leading into the All-Star break:

JANUARY (8 games left)

Home: 4 (Miami, Utah, Oklahoma City New Orleans)

Road: 4 (Toronto, Chicago, Memphis, Phoenix)

FEBRUARY (8 games to All-Star break)

Home: 2 (Phoenix, Clippers)

Road: 6 (Phoenix, Minnesota, Detroit, Brooklyn, Boston, Charlotte, Miami)

22 Comments

  1. Houdini says:

    Lakers problem is leadership, Kobe is no leader, he only wants the scoring title. Nash WAS a great leader in Phoenix, but LA is Kobe’s territory, he’s the alpha dog so Nash can’t do nothing. All Pau and Dwight could do is whine and hope to rebound Kobe’s bricks. MWP, well, he’ll self-destruct anyway. Lakers play good if the ball goes in to Howard, but Kobe just won’t let that happen, he’s seen too much Shaq before to let D12 shine. Kobe’s one jealous b*tch, he only wants the spotlight to himself, so yeah, this Lakers team is done. I’ll be surprised if they even make the playoffs.

  2. Antonio says:

    They have a huge potential. They have to adjust to all the changes. New trainer, new players, new systems.

  3. Eaglos says:

    Lakers’ climb require Kobe to stop wasting 50 shots in order to score 25 points.
    If that doesn’t change, then the team will waver around the .500 percent mark
    and if they crawl to the playoffs they will be humiliated.

  4. Marco29 says:

    It will not be easy but maybe it is doable, considering that a team currenlty in front of them in the standings can also slide.But if they qualify they will probably be 7th or 8th. Even though they could be tired of making the effort to qualify, they would be a threat that nobody wants to face in the first round. Would be interesting to see how the top 3 teams will manage their schedule at the end of the season and fight (or not) for #1 or 2 seed. There might be some stars in LAC, OKC and SAS (Pop, what do you think?) who will have some time off beginning of April….

  5. MJ Reincarnated says:

    Lakers are gonna win everything YEEEEAAAAZZZZZZZZ

  6. Not Easy says:

    It’s doable but clearly not easy. Remember they struggled even on full strength. Kupchak should make some moves to improve the bench as they made terrible mistakes for letting Odom, Sessions, Shannon Brown, Farmar go, and hopefully D’Antoni plays to his players’ strengths. I mean, let Pau play the post, let Nash run the screens as how he feels like it. Let Kobe take command and dictate the tempo, Howard be Howard.

  7. Vadorio says:

    I think it’s too late for the Lakers this Year. And if it’s to be sweeped by the Clips on the 1st playoff round, no thanks.
    The casting errors are too big to be superable. Howard is not better than Bynum, Nash is a bit too old and Dantony doesn’t undurstand that defending is very important…

  8. bball fan says:

    At the current rate the Lakers won’t make the playoffs. They’re 3 games from the halfway point and they have still yet to show that they can turn things around. Being this far into the season for where they’re at is a very bad sign. If they do make the playoffs there’s no way they’re going to get past the Clippers, Thunder, and Grizzlies. They’re completely outmatched. I think it’d be a good thing for them to miss the playoffs, time for some other teams to shine in the post-season. And history has shown that there can only be one good team in L.A.

  9. Jon says:

    The Lakers need to depend on other players besides Kobe to hit the last shot. They need to come out strong in the 3rd quarter (not looking at any numbers but from the games ive watched they always seem to be outscored in every 3rd quarter). Gasol needs to be fresh and play like he did 3 years ago. Artest aka MWP is playing way better ball this season, but is making mistakes remember Metta that there are other guys on your team when you have a break away. The bench needs to bring it every night and when Blake returns their 3pt game should improve a few percentage points. I think this team has a few unhappy stars, but what their really missing is leadership like Fisher was in the locker room. This should fall upon Steve Nash and i believe he can handle this job if only the other guys are willing to listen. This team was built to be elite, but trust among players and leadership will be key to a playoff birth.

  10. SaYO says:

    GO LAKERs lol but this actually seems tough xD gna be interestingggggggg

  11. purpngold says:

    The Lakers not in the playoffs, it just doesnt sound right. I think they are finally pulling up their sleeves and getting to work, and not a minute too late because its pretty much do or die for them now. As long as Kobe, Nash, and D12 lead the charge, and oh yeah, DAntoni stays out of the way, the Lakers have a good chance. Keep playing team ball and stay focused on defense.
    Lets Go Lakers Lets Go…

  12. zenith says:

    not a lakers fan, but the lakers do look good with their back to back wins.lets see if they can continue this. still not trying to count them out yet-its lakers after all -

    • Mark says:

      Their two wins were against a bottom feeder (Cavaliers) and a 7th/8th seeded team that has recently been struggling (Bucks). Now if they win against the Heat tomorrow, then maybe they have hit a turning point for the good.

      • No Drama in the L.A.C. says:

        Two game winning streak snapped by the heat. L.A. will be a riot. Kobe will whine. Laker nation will stfu as they should until they get another two game winning streak. Somehow lakers will benefit from a trade that should 110% impossible. “Under the rader” transaction.

  13. 2e says:

    You are not talking about the house market to be using the words ‘hit bottom.’ There are two scenarios.
    1. Pau Gasol is going to continue his “maternity leave” drinking his baby milk; Dwight Howard is going to have back spasms; Steve Nash will discover that he is too old to play; Steve Blake will go for his surgery; and Kobe Bryant will announce that he is going on his second honeymoon. Under this scenario, the Lakers will definitely hit the real bottom.
    2. Pau Gasol mans up and says to himself, ‘I think enough is enough. I have to earn my money;’ Dwight Howard becomes a real superman like he was in Orlando; Steve Nash finds the fountain of youth; and Kobe Bryant says I think I can get my sixth championship. Under this scenario, the Lakers will be in the Playoffs, and even have a shot at the championship.

  14. amitpal says:

    Sorry laker nation but ur team is done this year. The best they will do is reach the playoffs but they will be so tired of working and reaching the playoffs that they womt have enough in the tank to when a series in the western conference.

  15. dj rgm9 says:

    They gonna be fine when the all star break starts,after the all st. break they gonna secure theyr play off spot.They can do it no doubt!There gonna be pumbs in the road and some game at home losing,but when time arrives the play off spot gonna secure 100%.They gonna be fine no matter what haters&critics gonna say!

  16. dattebayo says:

    Just remember Laker Nation, the Lakers stand at 17-21 and for every loss, they have to win at least 3 games to make the playoffs with a 50-32 record and even then, they might need the tiebraker(s) against the Rockets, Trailblazers and/or Jazz.

    There are 7 tough games left against the East:
    @ + vs Chicago, @ + vs Boston, @ + vs Miami and @Indiana.

    And there are 8 tough games left against the West:
    @ + vs Clippers, @ + vs Memphis, @ + vs Oklahoma , @Denver and vs San Antonio.

    Considering that the Lakers might also drop a game here or there to Dallas, Utah, Houston, Golden State or Portland, the Lakers can’t afford to lose more than 8 out of those 15 which will be a tall order. Let’s see how they do :)

    • Mind Reader says:

      they dont need to win as many as you think because the 6 7 8th seed might go on a losing streak and fall out of the playoffs. that being said, every loss counts so the Lakers will be on their toes for the rest of the season. for an old team, they def wont go all the way this season.

      • dattebayo says:

        I don’t think they will need 50 wins either, 46 might be enough depending on how the other teams do. The math was easier this way though :P