An interesting article that has some answers to the Lakers’ recent struggles.
L.A. Times: The Lakers have been banged up for quite a while now.
There was Pau Gasol’s left hamstring injury,Ron Artest’s plantar fasciitis and Lamar Odom’s recent sprain to his right index finger. Of course, there’s also Kobe Bryant’s eight-week-long fractured right index finger and his recently aggravated left ankle, though he will still suit up tonight against Denver.
The Lakers are also tired, coming off an eight-game, 13-day East Coast trip that consisted of stops to Cleveland, New York, Toronto, Washington, Indiana, Philadelphia, Boston and Memphis. When asked whether the Lakers’ fatigue is more mental or physical, Lakers forward Lamar Odom laughed and said, “It’s both.” Therefore, it’s practically an understatement to say the Lakers look forward to some rest.
Said Coach Phil Jackson, “We see that All-Star break and think that will be real good for this team.”
But the Lakers will have to wait. They have four games remaining before All-Star weekend, with contests all featuring playoff-caliber opponents including a back-to-back starting tonight against Denver and Saturday at Portland. The Lakers then return home for a game Monday against San Antonio before traveling for a Wednesday game against Utah. Forward Pau Gasol describes these contests as a “very tough stretch” for reasons beyond the team’s health concerns. That’s because the Lakers have all lost rather handily to the aforementioned opponents this season.
Said Gasol, “We have to prove what kind of team we are and if we want to be champions again.”