I am guilty. Guilty of standings watching. Guilty of looking at the Lakers’ win/loss record and celebrating it. The Lakers are 7-5! I’ve written joyfully. On here. On twitter. In texts to friends and family and Celtics fans. I am enjoying not just the way the team is playing or the fact they are improved, but the winning. I like winning. I am guilty.
Things are about to get less fun, though. Or at least they should. Matt Moore of CBS Sports tweeted out the Lakers’ upcoming schedule. It is brutal.
Let’s just check in on that upcoming Lakers schedule and pic.twitter.com/brO3yLSxYA
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 16, 2016
That…that’s not ideal. Spurs, Warriors twice, Bulls twice, Jazz, Rockets, Grizzlies, Hawks, Raptors, OKC…dammit. That’s a bloodbath of a schedule over the next 12 games. I would imagine the only game the Lakers could be favored in is vs. the Pelicans and maybe not even that game since it is on the road. The Lakers could literally lose 11 of 12 and, in many ways, it wouldn’t even be a surprise. That’s how rough a patch that is.
Now, I want you to think back to before the season. You know, when the rhetoric around the team was the desire to see incremental improvement and play an entertaining brand of basketball. Remember those days? Those days were good times. Not just because they were realistic goals, but because those were actually things that mattered and represented an approach that had been lacking in recent seasons.
Now, 12 games into the season, things have shifted somewhat. We are not only discussing wins from a quantity standpoint, but from a quality one. Yeah, they won, but it was ugly…the starters struggled…they needed to be bailed out by Lou Williams down the stretch. These have become real conversations. I’m not sure how we got to that point so fast, but here we are.
So, this upcoming stretch of games is going to test of resolve, but in way, it will be the fans’ rather than the players. The players are going to go out there and play hard. They’re going to execute. They’re going to try and leverage any advantages they have and minimize their mistakes. We know this because they are of good character, are well coached, and, well, that’s what they have done in the first part of the season.
Some nights they may come out on top, but based on the quality of opponent, it may not happen as often as we have gotten used to. And, for fans, that might get rough. And, if it does, I suggest getting back to the point where you were before the season, when you were looking for incremental progress and simply hoping for the best. I can guarantee, win or lose, you’ll be better off for it.