During the first 42 games of the season, the Lakers played just nine teams with winning records.
Over the course of the next eight games, the Lakers face six teams with winning percentages well above the .500 mark.
They’ll play Oklahoma City, Dallas and Denver on the road, Utah, Sacramento, Boston, Houston and San
Suffice as to say, if the Lakers were at all worried about games being uninteresting heading into the All-Star break, now is the time to stop wondering and start breaking the complacency habit. The Lakers had a nice seven-game win streak before they let their hallway mates end it on Sunday, but letting their guard down aside, the Lakers had been recently exhibiting the type of play that won them two back-to-back O’Brien trophies.
The Lakers have a tough road ahead and will have to play at a higher level than the “B” rating recently pegged on them by Phil Jackson.
“We’re definitely a B-team right now,” Jackson said. “We have room for improvement. What I like about it is we’ve got their attention and they’re starting to be attentive on defense and know that they’ve got an opportunity to be a really good team.”
Indeed the Lakers have given themselves an opportunity to improve by paying more attention to defense, a slightly more efficient Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom continuing his high-level of play coming off the bench. Like Jackson said, there’s room for improvement. The Lakers aren’t perfect, but they’re not as far as they were from reaching that elusive A-rating. At least, they’re not anywhere near the mess they were after that string of double-digit losses they had to end 2010.
We’ll look at the good and then touch on the bad aspects that have been hurting the Lakers over the past couple of weeks. Bumpy roads are ahead and it’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers come out of it winners.