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)