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Lakers 2012-13 Schedule Breakdown

With the NBA recently releasing the schedule for the 2012-13 regular season, it’s that time of the year again where I try to predict the Lakers record for the upcoming year.  First, let’s get some basics out of the way:

The Lakers have a total of 16 back-to-backs.  With reports out there that some teams have as many as 22 B2B’s and as few as 13, the Lakers are definitely on the low side, as has been the case for many previous years.  Also, the 4 West teams that the Lakers play only 3 times this year are San Antonio, Utah, Minnesota, and Memphis.  Since there will only be three games in the season series, all the games against both San Antonio and Memphis could have huge implications for playoff seeding, since season series is the first tie-breaker if two teams finish with the same record.  Lastly, the Lakers only have 1 stretch of having 4 games in 5 nights, so their schedule is pretty well spread out.

Quick Start: Oct 30 – Nov 18 (DAL, @POR, LAC, DET, @UTA, GS, SAC, SA, PHO, HOU).

The Lakers start off the season with a gamut of Western conference teams, notably hosting Dallas on opening night then flying to Portland the next night.  While playing at home against the likes of Detroit, Golden State, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Houston shouldn’t present any problems, the Lakers have always had trouble going up to Portland and to Salt Lake City. However, with only 4 games against opponents that made the playoffs the previous year, the Lakers have a fairly cushy start to their season.

Prediction: 8-2

Three Road Trips: Nov 20 – Dec 16 (BKN, @SAC, @MEM, @DAL, IND, DEN, ORL, @HOU, @NOH, @OKC, UTA, @CLE, @NYK, @WAS, @PHI).

The Lakers then embark on three separate road trips.  The first starts with a B2B with the new-look Brooklyn Nets at home then at Sacramento, followed by trips to Memphis and Dallas.  Then after a match-up with Orlando at home (perhaps with or without Dwight Howard?), the Lakers go to Houston, New Orleans, and then Oklahoma City.  After going home to play Utah, the Lakers head east, traveling to Cleveland, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia.  This is definitely one of the toughest stretches the Lakers have this season, with 3 B2B’s with both games on the road.  The Lakers have always struggled on the road (at least compared to at home), so I have no doubt that this is when the trepidation will start seeping into the minds of Laker fans.

Prediction: 10-5  ;  Record: 18-7

Holidays: Dec 18 – Jan 1 (CHA, @GS, NYK, @DEN, POR, PHI)

For the holidays, the Lakers get a relative reprieve from previous years.  Having played Chicago, Miami, Cleveland, and Boston the past 4 years on Christmas Day (with only 1 win against the hated Celtics), the Lakers should be relieved to not be facing the top team in the Eastern Conference for a 5th consecutive year.  Instead, they face the Knicks (and if the Knicks are #1 in the East, something went terribly wrong in Miami, Chicago, and Boston).  However, the Lakers also have a game the following night, crossing time zones to Denver.  Heading east on a back-to-back is always dreadful, but doing so on Christmas Night will probably be worse, so even a strong showing on Christmas Day may be negated by a poor outing the next day.

Prediction: 5-1  ;  Record: 23-8

Make or Break: Jan 4 – Jan 29 (@LAC, DEN, @HOU, @SA, OKC, CLE, MIL, MIA, @TOR, @CHI, @MEM, UTA, OKC, NOH)

After the holidays, however, the Lakers have arguably their toughest stretch of the season.  They start off facing the Clippers in a de facto home game, but then have to make trips to San Antonio, Chicago, and Memphis, while hosting Miami and Oklahoma City twice.  If the Lakers are really a championship contending team this year, this will be the stretch that they either put fan’s minds at ease, or put them on edge.  While the Lakers get nights off before both OKC games and against Miami, the games in San Antonio and in Chicago will be on the 2nd night of back-to-backs.

Prediction: 10-4  ;  Record: 33-12

Grammy Trip: Jan 30 – Feb 10 (@PHO, @MIN, @DET, @BKN, @BOS, @CHA, @MIA)

The Lakers annual Grammy road trip features two back-to-backs, with seemingly annual visits to Boston and Miami.  Steve Nash will also be making his return to Phoenix on the front end of a B2B with the Lakers traveling to Minnesota the next day.  The game in Boston is on the front end of one of the B2B’s, but the back end is a dreaded visit to Charlotte, the game that perennially makes the Lakers look like a D-League team.

Prediction: 5-2  ;  Record: 38-14

The Most Important Game of the Season (Maybe): Feb 12 – Mar 10 (PHO, LAC, BOS, POR, @DAL, @DEN, MIN, ATL, @OKC, @NOH, TOR, CHI)

In this stretch of the season, there are some fairly difficult games, but only one really comes to my attention.  If the Lakers are competing for a top seed in the West, they will almost certainly be jockeying with Oklahoma City.  The last game of their season series takes place on March 5th in OKC, and may well be the difference between winning, tying, or losing the season series (I can’t imagine either team being up 3-0 at this point).  This may be the most important game of the season, as it may be the difference between having home court or not having home court against OKC in the playoffs.  The Lakers also have a tough back-to-back against Dallas and Denver, while also having to face a young New Orleans team in New Orleans the night after playing OKC. And while it may not be the most important game, the Lakers will face Boston in LA right after the All-Star break; Two well-rested teams that loath one another could make for an instant classic.

Prediction: 8-4  ;  Record: 46-18

Road Warriors: Mar 12 – Mar 30 (@ORL, @ATL, @IND, SAC, @PHO, WAS, @GS, @MIN, @MIL, @SAC)

In March, the Lakers play a total of 10 out of 15 games on the road, but it will mostly be against lower tier teams.  While Indiana may continue their success from the previous season, teams like Orlando, Atlanta, and Phoenix are in the process (or will be in the process) of rebuilding, while Golden State, Minnesota, Milwaukee, and Sacramento are in that awkward phase between being terrible and being average.  There may be a few scares and sketchy defeats in here, but I expect the Lakers to mostly take care of business while prepping for the stretch run to the playoffs.

Prediction: 8-2  ;  Record: 54-20

Closeout: Apr 2 – Apr 17 (DAL, MEM, @LAC, NOH, @POR, GS, SA, HOU)

The Lakers end the regular season with 9 straight games against Western Conference opponents.  After season series record, the tie-breaker is record against Western Conference opponents (unless the two teams share a division, which makes record against Pacific Division opponents the 2nd tie-breaker), so this stretch of the season could heavily influence playoff seeding.  With match-ups against Dallas, Memphis, the Clippers, and San Antonio, the Lakers playoff seed could go anywhere from 1st to 5th or 6th, with tie-breakers settling many of the seeds.  The past 3 years, the Lakers have performed very poorly during this portion of the season.  This is partially because they’ve rested some of their stars, and with the team adding old vets like Nash and Jamison, with Bryant and Gasol getting a year older, I expect no different from this years team.

Prediction: 4-4  ;  Record: 58-24


To be honest, these predictions have been much harder to make than the previous two I’ve done (08-09 and 09-10).  With Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison coming on board, it’s not clear if they help or hinder the Lakers greatest weakness in the regular season: letting mediocre teams back into games.  Nash and Jamison certainly provide offensive firepower, but it is generally solid defense that will hold down the less-talented teams, especially on the road.  If the Lakers use their training camp to develop solid defensive schemes, the Lakers should cruise to a record like the one I’ve predicted.  But if the Lakers D is lackluster and sporadic, they may struggle to put away weaker teams and force their starters to play longer minutes.


Reader Interactions


  1. Just curious, I’m assuming this prediction is made with Bynum playing the five. How much of a difference in the regular season record do you believe D-12 would make if he’s acquired early enough for a full training camp?


  2. This year it’s essential to have a great record against lesser teams. Great team on paper chemistry isn’t there yet. Possibly a new system (Princeton offense) and implementing new players will take time. Only 3 gimmes for the quick start DET, PHO, HOU.

    Nov. 20-Dec. 16 is an early crucial stretch. Part of it is 4 games in 5 days ending in @SAC, @MEM, @DAL. Another 4 games in 6 ending in @CLE, @NY, @WAS, @PHI.

    Starting New Year’s another tough 9 game stretch Lakers get PHI, LAC, DEN, HOU, SA, OKC, CLE, MIL, MIA. 9 games in 17 days.

    Lakers schedule eases up after the rodeo road trip ending in @GS, @MIN, @MIL, @SAC before a tough April.

    Lakers starters and the bench have to mesh quickly for a promising start. All things going perfect 23-8 record by New Year’s is best case scenario.


  3. Given Bynum’s injuries, his best bet is to sing a long term contract now, even if it is for less money.


  4. Larry Coon says that if Bynum sings a short extension he can get a bigger pay day on his MAx deal after year 10… so it makes financial sense to do so. Very interesting… players as they should mostly go for the bigger pay day… so look for Bynum to sign an extension.


  5. 2.

    Lakers would only lose games if their line up is not deep enough to support Kobe/Nash attack. Whether it’s Bynum or Howard, Lakers have distinct advantage in the post because there is someone to deliver the ball with ease. The problem is when Nash is on the bench, who will resume the offense. Therefore, Lakers need to attend to their SG hunt whether it’s Rush or Meeks. Blake or Morris cannot facilitate as good as Nash but if perimeter shooters are present like Jamison, Blake himself plus another one, it would spread out the floor while Nash/Kobe are resting.

    Dwight’s advantage on Bynum is defense while the latter plays defense sporadically. If you were Mitch and having all these tradewinds with Howard people, media, it’s difficult to decide on extension isn’t it? because your action could interfere with all other negotiations, so why complicate it? Will the acquiring team agree to the terms given to Socks? If you were Bynum camp, why jump on to this extension without knowing his destination? If by end of this month and Magic is still vague, Lakers has to let the gauntlet go and decide for Bynum. Orlando may just be engaging in gamesmanship to ruin the fate of everyone.


  6. I like Bynum. I think with the addition of Nash & his improved health Bynum will get his share of touches, and average his best numbers all around, including “D”. Absolutely no problem if D-12 ends up in Brooklyn or 26 other clubs. I hate the thought of D-12 joining OKC & transferring them into a dynasty and my lifelong dislike of the Celtics wouldn’t allow me to accept that either.

    I have no problems with Bynum not signing an extension. I hope he’s over his injury issues, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him operate another year injury free before giving him a max contract for the next 4 or 5 years. I just think that’s in the best interest of the franchise.


  7. 6–Edwin

    Three quick points :

    A} Nash is approaching 39, Jamison is 36 and coming off a year where he shot 40% from the field. Seriously, I`m not impressed. True, Nash is not your typical 39 year old offensively. He will hurt them defensively.

    Boston got bigger and younger this summer. Drafting Sullinger & Melo, getting Green & Wilcox back from heart surgery, signing Lee & Terry.

    I won`t miss Ray Allen at all, and felt it was a mistake re-signing him 2 years ago. Stiemsma was a pleasant surprise this year, but hardly indispensable.

    However, LA was a better team last year than Boston, despite the earlier playoff elimination.

    2} Bird is larger than life in Boston, but NO Celtic fan would want him to replace Ainge as GM. Danny is a tenancious gunslinger, riverboat gambler, who aggressively makes things happen. He`s great at spotting undiscovered talent, and we know that no GM will ever outwork him!

    3} This Thursday {Aug. 2nd} marks the 10th anniversary of Chick Hearn`s devastating head injury.

    I think we can all agree on this one—Chick was the greatest announcer in sports history {not just NBA history}!!!!!


  8. @RedsLoveChild-This Thursday {Aug. 2nd} marks the 10th anniversary of Chick Hearn`s devastating head injury.

    I think we can all agree on this one—Chick was the greatest announcer in sports history {not just NBA history}!!!!!

    Chick Hearn was simply the best!


  9. 8

    “True, Nash is not your typical 39 year old offensively. He will hurt them defensively.”

    Normally I would agree, but I find it hard to believe any PG could be worse defensively than Sessions was last season.

    As far as Jamison goes, he should be a lot more efficient as a 6th man playing 20-25 minutes against reserves than as the first or second option on a bad team. There is of course the possibility that he’s simply washed up but I’m optimistic.


  10. In lieu of any additional personnel changes (i.e., flipping Bynum for Howard and/or bolstering the bench) I honestly think a lot would have to go right for the Lakers to get to 58 wins this year. We don’t have any idea how Nash will fit in yet, and nobody in their core is getting any younger.

    Given the quality of the opposition, I think it’s particularly over-optimistic to expect the team to go 10-4 in the road trip beginning Jan. 4. Really, I think 6-8 would be closer to how that stretch of games will turn out.


  11. Red, I truly agree on Chick and haven’t seen a replacement yet among any media guy of this age. If he were alive I don’t know what he will say about the twitter news, blogs and facebooks. I would return the favor that Johnny Most was equally great broadcaster who were God sent to make the Lakers-Celtic rivalry unprecedented.

    I don’t know whether I would agree with what you said on Nash. I’m sure you’d also jump with joy if Ainge got him to mentor Rondo on how to control his emotions.

    With regards to the newcomers mentioned, we need to see them play first.

    IMO, Danny Ainge got a break in ’08 and blew it in the succeeding years. He drove the Celtics fans to nuts when he traded the’07- ’08 players who contributed to Celtics Championship: Eddie House, Tony Allen, James Posey. A year later got Moore, Starbury, JO and traded Perkins and Davis. to get Green. As you said, they just had a heart surgery, better get a good insurance. Danny practically destroyed the Celtic bench and rolled the dice with new draftees and journeymen like nate, wilcox, jo and including shaq.

    The damage appeared in the last playoffs, your highly paid oldies run out of steam after leading the playoffs against the Heat. Knowing your your illegitimate father, Red A. (lol), he’d never relinquish the lead and always closed the playoffs by hook or by crook at the Boston Garden.


  12. i literally choked on some food i was eating when i read the headline of awoj’s princeton offense/laker article.

    you acquire steve nash and then decide to run the princeton? baffling.


  13. Can we have a post on the Princeton offence, what is it about, with the players we now have?


  14. Edwin: Right, depth is key. Lakers still need another scorer off the bench preferably a SG. Willie Green, Nate Robinson are recently taken. The last 5 SG’s to have signed deals were for the vet minimum and we’re still waiting for J. Richardson.

    I think the Princeton offense is better for all players. For an older team more ball movement is better down the line than Nash running PnR to nauseum. Also not having to call plays should speed up our offense. Princeton is a read and react system similar to the triangle everyone should excel this year.


  15. So Aaron now says Andrew is a singer? Hope to see him on America’s got Talent singing his new hit “there’s a bank in every city”.


  16. @14 Yeah, i agree i really don’t know what that kind of offense is but really interested of its style.

    Darius will likely share the ideas, we’ll just have to wait.


  17. i can forsee the Lakeshow end up in 2nd seed unless minor improvements along the way…such as a back up sg & a sniper from outside..whether we can get DH, it is until be seen,,, they need homecourt throughout the playoffs and hopefully nba finals..


  18. Roger Mason is still available as a back-up sg. He’s defensive minded and has height (6’5). Nice, steady & disciplined player, a former Spur and someone who played for the minimum last year. I like him for the Lakers.


  19. @8 – RLC, we’re going for a 2-3 years run. Nothing else matters after that. We’ll be on rebuild-mode. So Nash makes a lot of sense. Old? Yeah, but old pan cooks better food, right?

    You guys are ahead on rebuild, with Sullinger and Melo. Different estrategy.


  20. It’s just so difficult to predict the Lakers record this season… With old players like Jamison, Nash, and Kobe you never know of one or all of them will take a big step back next year.


  21. Our bench bigs don’t inspire confidence in me. One is terrible at defense and the other is terrible at offense. One is past his prime and the other has reached his [very mediocre] peak. Considering that rotations are shorter in the post-season (you know, the season that truly matters) only one big will enter the game – and neither Hill nor Jamison has the promise of affecting the game on both ends of the court to deliver us back to the Finals. We no longer have a two-way bench big like L.O. to help us get back to true contender status.

    This is on top of the other two glaring problems – lack of production from the bench and the geriatric roster we’ve compiled. Seems like the team is just out of balance. We have two good-but-immobile bigs who would be far more efficient if they didn’t have the other on the floor, no wing scoring off the bench, and no athletic youth with enough talent to actually get some playing time/affect games. This roster could benefit from addition by subtraction.


  22. I know. Just messing. Speaking of, Matt Barnes arrested for drunk driving and resisting arrest tonight.

    Might be end for him.


  23. 12–Edwin

    -Celtic fans do not view Johnny Most the way Laker fans view Chick. Truth is, Johnny was strictly a “homer”, a horrible announcer, had a terrible voice, and he was not a likable guy.

    Most of us Celtic fans fans view him as a guy who was in the right place at the right time, which enabled him to call many memorable and historic games.

    -Rondo does many things well, but Nash would not be able to help him with his biggest deficiency…his inability to shoot, especially FT`s. They hired Mark Price 2 years ago to tutor him. They might as well have hired Shaq!

    -Losing Posey was painful, but what could Ainge do when NO made him a ridiculous offer that Boston could not match due to cap space issues? Besides, Posey quickly got old & injured right after signing.

    Tony Allen also left as a FA, because Memphis offered more $$ and the opportunity to start.

    Eddie House outlived his purpose here, he was a 1-trick pony {shooting 3`s}, but he was lacking in all other areas and getting old.

    I agree that Moore, Marbury, JO, Nate were horrible pick-ups.

    Shaq only cost them $1M in salary to be Perk`s back-up.

    Big Baby for Bass was a steal by Ainge! Davis is immature, and Orlando overpaid him.

    Perkins is merely a career 6 PPG, 6 RPG player. He had made up his mind to be a FA after the season. OKC paid him $36M. I will agree that Jeff Green is equally overrated & overpaid.


  24. Sad news about Matt Barnes. Seems like a decent guy who should gotten some better breaks in his career.

    A couple of names are still out there on the FA market incase we don’t land Meeks or Roger Mason at the backup 2 guard: Anthony Parker, and Agent Zero… the former would be a nice addition, the latter an interesting one. Either way, the only offer going out to a backup 2 guard is the vet minimum, so it’s hard to say there’s any risky moves out there for the vet min.


  25. @ #21, Magic Phil: make that a 1-2 year run. Once Kobe’s mega contract is history, the Lakers will start anew.


  26. bigcitysid-

    Kobe and Pau are on the books for 2 more. Nash is on the books for 3. How is this run going to be less than 2 years? I also find it very hard to believe that the Lakers won’t extend a much more reasonable offer to Kobe after this contract is over.


  27. I always associated the Princeton offense with less talented teams, but Georgetown has shown that it can be utilized by a big time program on the college level. Dont ask me when the last time they were relevant in college BBall( kinda scary thought uhhh)?

    If this is true the one thing I will not miss are all those iso’s from Kobe. Passing is paramount in this offense and a stopped ball is death. With two of the best passers at their positon on the roster(Nash and Pau) this could work, but I worry about the amount of time that a react system this complicated will become second nature on the court.

    Oh well I guess I wil have to just pray that LA can get D. Howard so they can just pick and roll teams to death. Its the oldest play in the book but the most effective and would be nearly impossible to stop. I am officially on the D. Howard train after hearing this news.


  28. Lakers fans have to take Kobe retirement talk serious. He’s already acheived greatness and is in the conversation with MJ, Magic, Bird. It’s nothing more for him to accomplish other than win number 6. If that doesn’t happen in the next 2 years and he sees his skills diminishing which they clearly are to some degree I think he’ll hang them up. If we do get #17 within the next 2 years I could see Kobe retiring that way too.

    Remember Kobe did say to SAS “You think I’m going to stick around and score 19, 20 points a game.”.


  29. Kevin_

    Yes. I can’t speak for all laker fans, but I fully realize that. Kobe will be around for the minimum of 2 more years then, if he still has something in the tank, he will make that decision.


  30. I have a comment on this Princeton offense.

    How many teams won Championship using this offense? Well, the triangle proved to be successful with Phil Jackson. I don’t know what Pat Riley is using, but it was also successful in producing 7 rings. Does Coach Popovich use this offense? Lastly, what is the effects when Eddie Jordan used this offense to the teams he coached in NBA?

    Is it the offense or the composition of talented players plus the great motivation from coaching staff that leads to rings?

    Please educate us more on the new found miracle as Princeton Offense.


  31. I have a comment on this Princeton offense.

    How many teams won Championship using this offense? Well, the triangle offense proved to be successful with Phil Jackson. I don’t know what Pat Riley is using, but it was also successful in producing 7 rings. Does Coach Popovich use this offense? Lastly, what are the results when Eddie Jordan used this offense to the teams he coached in NBA?

    Is it the offense or the composition of talented players plus the great motivation from coaching staff that leads to rings?

    Please educate us more on the new found miracle so-called Princeton Offense.


  32. Color me underwhelmed on this Princeton offense thingy. Isn’t the triangle better? Plus we already have personnel/coaches who are familiar with it.

    I don’t worry about Pau, Nash and Kobe, but the others took a while to understand the triangle – in Artest’s case, I don’t think he ever got it.

    Plus neither Drew nor Ron is particularly agile, so even if they “read”, are they going to “react”?


  33. In regards to the Princeton offense. I’m wondering how much we will actually run it? I still think that we will have an incredibly heavy dose of Nash–> Bynum/Howard/Gasol PnR. I’m really interested in seeing Nash/Kobe PnR too. Maybe the Princeton offense will be there to keep the O from stagnating when Nash *isn’t on the floor? That is going to be quite a bit of the time since he only plays like 30 minutes a game right?


  34. BTW, at least we know Artest is in shape:

    Say what you will, but a healthy Artest and Nash gives us a monster top 5. We need a defender/shooter off the bench, and we are set.

    Rush would have been the *perfect* fit, but he just resigned with the Warriors – sigh!


  35. The Princeton offense is the cousin of the Triangle. It should be pretty easy for our triangle vets to pick up.


  36. I’m not worried at all about the Princeton offense for two main reasons:

    1) NJN ran it with an elite, Ball dominating PG and they got to two finals with WAY less talent than what the Lakers have right now. A second example would be Sacramento with Mike Bibby in the lead as well as the Hornets with Chris Paul and to some extent, the Wizards with the ultimate ball dominator in Gilbert Arenas. Reason why it didn’t work with the younger team like the Sixers is the young roster they had. It takes savvy vets who have multiple skill sets to run this offense

    2) KOBE BRYANT, STEVE NASH, PAU GASOL, BYNUM (or Howard). When push comes to shove, these guys will find a way to create and score. It’s not like the team will run this set every single time down the court. Even when the triangle was the offensive scheme for Kobe-Pau Lakers and Kobe-Shaq, as well as MJ in Chicago, when the offense broke down, those guys found a way to score. Even Jordan said “The triangle is a great offense to take you through the first three quarters”. In the 4th, your stars will take you home and finish the job. If the Princeton set breaks down with 10 on the shotclock, throw it out to Nash and he’ll get the team a good shot, run a quick P&R with Gasol or Bynum, or throw it out to Kobe in the wing and he’ll go 1-on-1, or dump it down low to Bynum or Gasol in the low block and let them go to work.

    I’ll take the princeton offense any day than whatever-you-call-it-primary-school-one-option-set they ran last year.