After brutal back-to-back games against both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers finally get a break in their schedule. Their next five games offer a chance at competitive games and the possibility to get some quality wins, or potentially approach a better chance at winning the lottery. As Mitch Kupchak claimed, the Lakers will not purposely tank and playing competitive basketball is important to the franchise, so these next five games will give fans something positive to watch.
First up is the Washington Wizards, a young team doing fairly well in the Eastern Conference. Currently a No. 6 seed, this will likely be a tough game for the Lakers. The Lakers do not have anyone to match the backcourt of the Wizards, specifically John Wall, and will lose this game to a hungry playoff team.
Next is the Orlando Magic, which is one of the few teams that actually has a better chance of winning the lottery than the Lakers. The Magic are young but still have room to grow. The Lakers will be at home, and Pau Gasol should have his way with the Magic big men, meaning a victory for the purple and gold.
The New York Knicks are more interesting as they are 12 games under .500, but are currently on a seven-game winning streak. Playing at home will help the Lakers, but the talent on the Knicks should be too much. The Lakers don’t really have anyone who can handle Carmelo Anthony’s offensive arsenal so this game should be extremely high scoring, but the Lakers will falter in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers will then travel to Milwaukee where they will play arguably the worst team in the NBA. Even though this is an away game, the Lakers should easily win. The Milwaukee Bucks have even more problems than the Lakers, and this game could potentially give the team a boost of confidence.
Next Friday, the Lakers will played their fifth game in eight days. They will make the trip to play the Minnesota Timberwolves where they can get a first-hand view of future free-agent Kevin Love, and Rick Adelman, the coach they passed on several years ago. The Timberwolves are a good team that needs a huge late-season run to make the playoffs and should be looking to put this game away early.
The Lakers have a good chance of putting a couple wins together in their next five games. It is unlikely that they will lose enough games to finish lower than the bottom three teams (or more unlikely that the bottom three teams will win enough games) and winning should always be a priority. Most of their players are still auditioning for a roster spot next season, so there is no reason not to put forth their best effort. Look for the Lakers to gain some much-needed momentum in this next week.