The recent struggles the Lakers have gone through seem very similar. For it was just several weeks ago that the Lakers lost four straight games for the first time since 2006. The Lakers have now lost three straight once again, all three in blow-out fashion. After a surprising loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last week, the Lakers suffered an embarrassing loss on Christmas Day to the Miami Heat. The slide continued last night in San Antonio, as the Lakers were humiliated once again at the hands of the Spurs.
The Lakers are known for their tendencies to struggle during the regular season, so much of this recent losing streak has been seen before. However, these struggles seem different than those of the past. It could be that the Lakers are having trouble incorporating the large amount of new players on the roster. It could also be that three straight years of playing deep into June has caught up with Los Angeles. One thing is certain, though, and that is that if these Lakers want to make another deep post-season run this year they’re going to have to change things.
Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson says that post-season seeding isn’t crucial for the Lakers, and that they can win the title even if they don’t have the number one seed. Upon hearing this, my thoughts immediately jumped back to the NBA Finals last season. The Lakers faced the Boston Celtics in one of the most exciting Finals in recent memory.
The series went seven games, and the Lakers had home court advantage in that series. The Lakers went 1-2 in Boston, and 3-1 in Los Angeles. Those three wins at the Staples Center secured the championship for Los Angeles, and there is a high probability that the Celtics would have won the title if the Lakers were forced to play Game 7 in Boston.
Does Phil Jackson’s comments carry enough weight to convince Lakers’ followers that the regular season doesn’t matter? Can the Lakers win the championship without home court advantage? Only time will tell, but until the Lakers prove they are able to win consistently in the regular season, post-season success will be out of the question.