Two years ago, the Lakers schedule looked tough early but softer later, and that plus growth of the team in the triangle set the team up for a strong late run into the playoffs. Last season, the schedule was favorable early then it got harder, the Lakers got injured, and the wheels came off.
The 2007-08 schedule is now out, and it looks more like two years ago.
The Lakers open at Staples against Houston, the second half of a TNT double header (so, donâ€™t worry about arriving late to that game, you know TNT will run long and push the start back), then they go on the road to Phoenix, then come back home to face Utah. Later that month the Lakers do a Texas two-step against Houston and San Antonio, then get two of the best teams in the East at Staples, Detroit and Chicago.
While there are certainly winnable games, the Lakers are going to be put to a test in November.
The Lakers do not get Christmas off, are home to Phoenix to celebrate a surfing Santa holiday against the Suns. Maybe, if Steve Nash eats a lot of turkey before the gameâ€¦â€¦
Those of you who were dying to see Kevin Garnett play at Staples Center, Dec. 30th is your only chance.
Other things of note include a nine-game East Coast (and some Midwest) road swing that starts Jan. 31. Right after that the Lakers come home for one game against Atlanta then head out on the road for three more (although one of those is the Clippers).
I wonâ€™t call the final month of the season (the last 14 games) easy, but if the Lakers are going to be a serious playoff team then they should win a lot of them. Those matchups are: Seattle; and home and home against Golden State; Charlotte; Memphis; Portland; Dallas at Sacramento; at Portland; at the LA Clippers; at New Orleans; San Antonio; and Sacramento.
Overall the Lakers have 33 games on national television and 17 back-to-backs. The schedule is heavy on Friday then Sunday games, with 15 Sunday whites games at Staples. The Lakers have more home games late in the season than early on.
Not to get Zen about it, but the schedule is the schedule. You have to play it. But on first glance, we need to remind ourselves when we see the Lakers record at the end of November that things are going to get better later. If they can put together decent numbers early they can make a big push late and carry that momentum into the playoffs.