ATLANTA - The Lakers' loss Sunday afternoon to the Atlanta Hawks was only their 10th in 37 road games. No team in the NBA has fewer losses on the road than the Lakers.
So, the question is, why all the fuss about home-court advantage in the playoffs?
"You know, home court is important, but in my years of experience, if you're going to be a champion, you should win on the road anyway," Kobe Bryant said. "The better team is going to win, no matter where you play."
>In fact, the Lakers won their most recent NBA title without the benefit of home-court advantage in the Western Conference finals. In 2002, they defeated the Sacramento Kings in overtime in Game 7, silencing a raucous crowd at Arco Arena.
The Lakers have clinched the best record in the conference this season, but fell twogames behind the league-leading Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. At the moment, the Lakers have home- court advantage for only the first three rounds of the playoffs.
"We can win anywhere," Bryant said. "There's no question about it."
"I feel like we're a very good road team," he said. "Confidence, maturity, having seen the worst of the worst last year in Game 6 and having to learn from that and then, obviously, the road success we're having this year, we're fine playing on the road."
Bryant referred to the Lakers' humiliating 131-92 loss to the Boston Celtics in the deciding game of the Finals last June at the TD Banknorth
Asked for his keys to road success, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said rather succinctly, "Talent and the ability to play together in a certain sense of composure. I think experience is a big part of it, too."
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