After one of the busiest beginnings to this year’s condensed season, the Los Angeles Lakers finally had a chance to sit back, take a deep breath, and relax as they only had seven games in 14 days.
Despite suffering their second home loss of the season to the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers bounced back as they took on their newly appointed cross hall rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers in a hard fought battle. In spite of trailing for more than 75 percent of the game, the Lakers showed determination and fight throughout their play allowing them to prevail and come away with a much-needed victory versus the Clippers.
The Lakers have been an up-and-down team in terms of their performance. They look good one day and then the next day they leave fans wondering if this was the same team they witnessed play the game before. This is due mostly to the fact that they are still not comfortable or confident running the offensive system that first year Lakers head coach Mike Brown has established.
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However, a possible glimmer of hope has arrived in rookie shooting guard Andrew Goudelock. Regardless of having a horrible start to the season, the rookie has scored in double digits in four of the last six games and seemed to have sparked the Lakers outside shooting. With Steve Blake still suffering from a rib injury, the Lakers bench has been struggling to score, but Goudelock has come in and filled Blake’s shoes. The Lakers will only get better as they await the return of Steve Blake to their bench’s arsenal. With Blake and Goudelock continuing to knock down their open shots, and especially the three-point ball, this team is a force to be reckoned with.
The purple and gold have started their toughest road trip of the season, the dreaded Grammy trip. They are away from home from February 3-12, while playing six games and two back-to-backs. They will go up against Denver, Utah, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Toronto. This trip will be a good test for the Lakers to measure where they are as a team and see what they still need to work on.
After surviving a fourth quarter surge by the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, the Lakers kicked off an important road trip with a win. This was only their third win of the year on the road, and if they want to be an extremely successful team playing away from home they cannot continue to have mental lapses, especially late in games. They have to play with poise and confidence, trusting each other while staying aggressive. The team that is the aggressor during the game, particularly down the stretch, is usually the one walking away with the victory.
Another key objective to winning on the road is not getting away from what is working the best at a given moment, feeding the hot hand. Friday night against the Nuggets, Andrew Bynum had 15 points in the first half, he was dominating the post, but in the third quarter the Lakers went away from him and he did not attempt a single shot.
When Bynum and Pau Gasol are on the court together, the Lakers have the advantage against just about every team in height, but they often stop feeding the post and shot an abundant amount of 3-point shots. They are tied for the third worst in the league in three-point shooting percentage, and when they start shooting only three-pointers is when they get into trouble. The Lakers have to make the game easy for themselves do be a good road team.
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