I’m still heavily considering making a separate blog just for the Lakers, but until I decide to actually do so, I’ll periodically post my thoughts on the Lakers on this blog. That said, today’s thoughts will be on the Lakers and their schedule for the rest of this tough month. (Note: back-to-backs are bolded)
The week of March 4
March 6th @ DET
March 7th @WAS
March 9th @MIN
No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The much-improved Timberwolves squad should present an exciting challenge, but there’s little to no reason why the Lakers should not sweep this week and go 3-0.
My prediction: The Lakers go 3-0
The week of March 11
March 11th v. BOS
March 13th @ MEM
March 14th @NO
March 16th v. MIN
This is where the level of competition starts to rise. We all know the history between BOS and LA and how close their games are. With Rondo tearing it up as of late and LA’s OT victory on 2/9 still lingering, this will definitely be a close, grinding-it-out type of a game. As for Memphis, this is another team that, frankly, a lot of teams fear to face in the playoffs. Even without Zach Randolph, they still have Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Tony Allen (best perimeter defender in the game).
Worst-case scenario: The Lakers go 2-2 (losing to BOS & MEM, beating NO & MIN)
Best-case scenario: The Lakers go 3-1 (there’s going to be an inevitable schedule/weary legs loss)
The week of March 18
March 18th v. UTA
March 20th @ HOU
March 21st @ DAL
March 23rd v. POR
The question on everybody’s mind is, “will the Lakers stay pat or make improvements by the 3/15 trade deadline?” Will they have filled their holes at PG and SF with capable role players or will they have made a huge splash in trading for a superstar or two? Perhaps we’ll be playing against Pau Gasol and the Rockets as Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola play their first game against their former team. Or maybe when Portland visits LA, Raymond Felton will have something to prove against his former teammates. In any case, I believe that this will be the toughest week of games in the month of March. In addition to their opponents all being playoff or near-playoff teams, the Lakers will also have played a game every other day for 2-3 straight weeks by then. So clearly, this particular week will be a HUGE challenge for them. That said, the Lakers have had huge advantages over Utah and Portland IN Los Angeles, and the Lakers were able to put some demons to rest when they defeated Dallas on the road late last month. I think the toughest out for the Lakers will be the Rockets, who have played a great season so far, are one of the better teams at home, and always play the Lakers tough.
Worst-case scenario: The Lakers go 2-2 (losing to HOU & DAL w/ Odom back, beating UTA & POR)
Best-case scenario: The Lakers go 4-0 and legitimize themselves as title contenders. No, seriously. Forrreal.
The week of March 25
March 25th v. MEM
March 27th @ GS
March 29th v. OKC
March 31st v. NO
Yes, the Lakers close out the month by facing a pesky squad in the Warriors, a surging squad (that’ll probably have Zach Randolph back by then) in the Grizzlies, and one of the top three teams in the Thunder. At the same time, all their games during this week will be either home or in California, and there are no back-to-backs. Hopefully, this will allow the Lakers to push hard and finish out the month of March with some statement/signature wins.
Worst-case scenario: The Lakers go 2-2 (losing to MEM & OKC, beating GS & NO)
Best-case scenario: The Lakers go 3-1 (I think weary legs and OKC’s dominant play will be enough to ensure a close victory by the Thunder. That said, I think the Lakers will play a tough game that fans will have little to complain about and much to take heart in)
March will prove to be an action packed month. Whereas they only played on 13 out of 29 days in February (including All-Star weekend) and will only play on 14 out of the 30 days in April, the Lakers will play on 17 out of 31 days in March. Moreover, there will be 3 back-to-backs, and the Lakers will play 8 games on the road as opposed to 7 at home. That said, accumulating my week-by-week predictions, these are my predictions for the entire month of March:
Worst-case scenario: The Lakers go 9-6 and head into the last month of the season with a record of 32-20.
Best-case scenario: The Lakers go 13-2 and head into the last month of the season with a record of 36-16.