I’ve written before about the strange relationship between the media and the Los Angeles Lakers. Being the clear-cut favorites to win the title entering the season, people first expected them to coast through the regular season and worry only about the Playoffs. However, when the Lakers started out the year so dominantly, expectations were suddenly adjusted and a 38-17 record has them being called a disappointment, even in turmoil.
Think about the road trip they are currently dealing with.
It’s well-documented how difficult the road can be in the NBA, especially when you’re playing seven games in 12 days away from home, which is exactly what the Lakers are doing.
The Lake-show started off the trip with New Orleans and Memphis, two teams in contention for a playoff berth. Then, they headed to Boston, New York and Orlando for three games in four days in a few of the toughest places to play in the NBA. They took down the home-standing Celtics in the first game, absolutely destroyed the Knicks on the second day of back-to-back games, then fell 89-75 to the Magic.
I don’t know about you, but I would say there’s no shame in that five game stretch.
However, looking around at headlines this morning following the Lakers loss to Orlando, I see all kind of micro-analysis going on. I see headlines like “Season low for LA” and “Bynum key to title run”.
As if a loss in a third road game in four days against a very hungry, very talented Orlando team is supposed to be an indictment of LA.
Can we please just remember this is the regular season? Unless my memory is deceiving me, Phil Jackson’s MJ-led teams in Chicago weren’t always machines in the regular season. Outside of that 72 win season when they were out to prove something, their focus during the regular season was nothing more than priming themselves for the playoffs. LA is doing the same thing.
Now, the Lakers get a couple weaker opponents to close out their trip and it starts tonight in Charlotte, LA’s fourth game in five days. Then, LA gets a day off before heading to play lowly Cleveland.