Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers (27-12) will face the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs (26-13), a big game for both teams.
For the Lakers, they are trying to prove that they can keep the ship afloat while Andrew Bynum is sidelined and still be able to beat the elite teams in the league.
For the Spurs, they are trying to get a big win. Making it the first win over an above .500 team since December 15th.
Although we are in January this is still a big trip in Texas. Especially with the long road trip ahead. If the Lakers can go in and beat both San Antonio and Dallas without Bynum, it will prove that this team belongs and can still contend even without the big man in the middle.
The most important thing for the Lakers is to continue to progress while Bynum is injured, and more importantly have no more significant injuries. Remember the Lakers were 26-13 last year too, and Andrew had little to do with that start. So with this current lineup which still features Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, I am certain we can still beat the elite teams and be considered a contender.
We have yet to see Kobe take over a game and shoot fade away jumpers over triple teams. Last year that was probably our best bet. Now with the sharp shooting of Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar, Kobe no longer has to go 1 on 5.
As I once dwelled on the injury to Andrew, I see new light of this mishap. I see an opportunity to grow, and I see a definite opportunity to continue our success while he is out.
After the two games in Texas, we go back home with games against the Cavaliers and the Knicks. The Cavs game is definite going to be a payback game for what happened in Cleveland earlier this season. The Knicks on the other hand, pardon me why I etch a mark in the win column.
Then we embark on the longest road trip of the year. A nine game road trip that last from February 1st to the 13th, nine games in 14 days. With 3 back to back games. This will be the Lakers true test to see if they can keep their top 4th seed in the West alive. However, with 5 of the games being teams below .500 and playing the two worst teams in the league, Miami and Minnesota. The Lakers do have that in their favor, but they will be tested in Toronto, Washington, and Orlando.
Kobe Bryant, stated that “It’s important to gain momentum especially going out on a big road trip”. So with two big games in 3 nights against two of the best teams in the league, this is when you gain momentum and confidence as a true NBA contender.
All Championship teams battle adversity, and it ultimately shapes the team and prepares them for the struggles in the playoffs. Maybe the injury to our biggest surprise of the season will actually help this Laker team become even better. Every player, one through twelve.
If you find out how to win different ways early, then you will be prepared for the road ahead.
And as Frank A. Clark once said, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
We’ll the Lakers have an obstacle, and conquering that might just lead them to an NBA championship.