Even though the Lakers longest road trip of the season took place in February, it may be in March where the true mettle of the Lakers team reveals itself. The Lakers thought they had it tough on their recent seven game roadie. But they still haven’t traversed what will likely be their toughest stretch of the season.
San Antonio, Orlando, Miami, , Dallas (twice), New Orleans, Atlanta and Portland. All very tough playoff caliber teams who the Lakers will face in the month of March. Of particular concern will be the Mavericks as the Lakers seek to climb the ladder in the west and emerge as a two seed.
But passing the Mavericks will be no easy task considering the difficulty of the Lakers late season schedule and their track record this season when playing elite teams. And if they fall into any deeper of a hole, history will not be on their side.
There has only been one team in the last thirty years who finished as low as a four seed and went on to win the NBA title (the 1995 Houston Rockets, who finished a six seed then went on a miraculous run to defend as champions). If the Lakers continue their mediocre play they risk giving ground even to the rapidly improving Oklahoma City Thunder (currently tied in the loss column with the Lakers). This would mean that they’d be forced to endure a second round matchup with Spurs rather than being able to avoid them until the conference finals. Not a soothing prospect.
But that’s just the problem, isn’t it? At what point did the Lakers become concerned by a matchup with the Spurs?
When the Lakers jumped out of the gate to start the season at 8 – 0 it had many Lakers fan beileving this could be a record setting campaign. A team capable of flirting with history. Now we’re going to just be happy to finish top three in the west? What the hell happened?
Next: A Second Act Reversal