The Lakers enjoyed the victory over the Boston Celtics for the day but must get right back to work as they go on a mini-road trip to Memphis, and then over to New Orleans. If the Lakers want to be a successful and championship caliber team, the players must figure out a way to keep themselves focused. When they get into trouble on the road they constantly rely on outside shooting, their weakness, instead of going into the post, their strength.
If they are to be victorious Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, they will have to rely on their defense and post play. Andrew Bynum has proven that he can be consistent as he has averaged 22.2 points per game, and 11.4 rebounds in the last five contests. Now it is up to the rest of the team to start showing consistency on the road. Metta World Peace is going to be called on again for this game because he will have has hands full guarding Rudy Gay, although he cannot just show up defensively. He needs to give the Lakers around eight points to help take the pressure off the other starters. Steve Blake, too, has been inconsistent in play, as he has been too unselfish at times. He was lighting it up from behind the arc before his rib injury, and now needs to trust that his ribs are fine and shoot with more confidence.
Wednesday night marks the first meeting this season between the Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets. This is another back-to-back road game for the Lakers, who have not won the second game of a back-to-back on the road this year. The Hornets are the worst team in the Western Conference, but that is no excuse for the Lakers to sleep walk through this game. Led by first-year Hornet shooting guard Eric Gordon, formerly of the Clippers, who was acquired along with center Chris Kaman in the infamous Chris Paul deal, the Hornets are a team that will try and push the tempo to get easy baskets. The Lakers need to get back on defense quickly and prevent easy fastbreak opportunities to keep the Hornets from keeping the game close.
The team returns home to take on Minnesota for the fourth and final time this season Friday, and then Utah on Sunday.
Having played Minnesota three time already this year, and beating them all three times, the Lakers know exactly what to do against the Wolves – dominate the post play. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves will be without star rookie point guard Ricky Rubio for the remainder of the season after he sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during their previous match-up.
Sunday features the Jazz versus the Lakers. Utah is similar to the Lakers since they are not very good playing away from home. At 5-15 on the road, the Jazz are fighting for that eighth and final playoff seed. They are only 2.5 games behind Dallas and Houston for a playoff spot. Since this will be a home game for the Lakers, they should have no trouble staying focused and beating the Jazz in an easy victory.
Consistency has been the major issue with the Lakers, who are tied for first with Miami and Oklahoma City for the best home record at 18-2, but are the 20th worst team on the road at 7-14. The players need to start taking responsibility for the losses on the road, and not blame the coaching staff. It is the complacency of the players during the road games that gets them into trouble.