The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best home courts in the NBA. While the Staples Center crowd isn’t always considered amongst the loudest or most intense arenas, there is a certain aura which the building possesses.
Staples Center has celebrity mainstays such as Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington, and each game carries a certain level of importance as a result. The spotlight has potentially hurt the Lakers at times, with opposing players performing up to the crowd, but most league veterans will warn of the difficulty of defeating L.A. on their home floor.
In the Orlando bubble, however, home-court advantage is nullified other than the artificial crowd noises the NBA has permitted. The Lakers worked all season to secure the Western Conference’s top seed but won’t get to reap any benefits of it.
During a recent NBA on TNT pregame show, Dwyane Wade explained why he considers that a significant blow to the Lakers’ title chances:
“Here’s my concern with the Lakers. There’s something about as an opponent when you walk into the Staples Center. Automatically, [the Lakers] have an advantage because guys can’t play under those bright lights of the Staples Center. Jack Nicholson over there, you’ve got all the stars.
“It’s something that brings out that ‘Bron and A.D., and then the players on the other team can’t perform in those bright lights. The Lakers don’t have that advantage (in Orlando). This is the first time the L.A. Lakers don’t have that kind of advantage, so I’m concerned with that for them.”
Wade also pointed out that All-Star Anthony Davis will be a driving factor for the Lakers’ postseason fate. Davis erupted for 42 points against the Utah Jazz but wasn’t consistently aggressive during seeding games.
Wade said that Davis needs to show greater consistency if the Lakers plan on making a run for their 17th championship.
Davis embracing pressure with Lakers
While the Lakers as a franchise ended their seven-year playoff drought, Davis was just in the postseason two years ago with the New Orleans Pelicans. They upset the Portland Trail Blazers — who the Lakers now get to face.
However, for Davis he’s on a team with championship aspirations rather than a surprise success. “I think the target is a lot bigger,” he said of the playoffs this year.
“When you’re the underdog, you get wins and win games you’re not supposed to, you don’t necessarily have a target on your back. But when you’re a favorite, the pressure is more on you to win games than the other team.
“It makes it a little more exciting to go out and try to compete. All the pressure people talk about for our team, just try to go out there and prove people wrong.”
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