Los Angeles Lakers: Schedule analysis

Rapid Reaction: Lakers 2013-14 schedule release

August, 6, 2013
8/06/13
4:48
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The NBA's 2013-14 season schedule was released Tuesday afternoon and there are plenty of intriguing games for Los Angeles Lakers fans to circle on their calendars (or enter reminders in their smart phones).

Here's a quick breakdown:

THE START

The Lakers tip things off playing in one of the three nationally televised games on opening night, Oct. 29, at home against the Clippers. They go upstate to play the Warriors the very next day, the first of 19 back-to-backs on the season. L.A. comes back to Staples Center for their next two games, hosting the San Antonio Spurs on the Nov. 1 and then the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 3.

DWIGHT TIME

The Lakers travel to Houston to face off against Dwight Howard and the Rockets on Nov. 7 in just their sixth game of the season. You think that will give Kobe Bryant any motivation to be ready to play by late October? Howard will return to L.A. to hear the boo-birds on Feb. 19 in the Lakers' first game after the All-Star break.

FAMILIAR FACES

Former Lakers head coach Mike Brown (along with Earl Clark and Andrew Bynum, if he's healthy) will come to town on Jan. 14 when the Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers also travel to Cleveland on Feb. 5 in the middle game of a three-game trip that ends Feb. 7 in Philadelphia when Bryant will have yet another Philly homecoming.

Metta World Peace will surely receive a warm welcome from Lakers fans on March 25 when he returns to L.A. with the Knicks on March 25.

The Lakers will get their first look at Brian Shaw coaching the Nuggets on Nov. 13 (the first of two times next season when the Lakers play the second night of a back-to-back in the Denver altitude) and Shaw and Co. come to L.A. on Jan. 5.

MARQUEE MATCHUPS

The Lakers host LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Christmas Day and foam fingers probably won't be handed out at the door this time. The game is at 2 p.m. PT on ABC. The Lakers play in Miami on Jan. 23.

They go to OKC to play Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook (and Derek Fisher) on Dec. 13 and play the Thunder in a rare home-road two game series on March 9 in L.A. and March 13 in Oklahoma City.

ROAD ARENAS

Their annual trip to the Mecca of Basketball at Madison Square Garden is Jan. 26 when they face World Peace and the Knicks and L.A. goes to the place that has been a thorn in its side for the last decade -- the Rose Garden in Portland -- on March 3.

RIVALS

L.A. plays the Clippers on three other occasions after opening night -- Jan. 14 ("road" game), March 6 and April 6 (another "road" game). They travel to play the stripped-down Boston Celtics on Jan. 17 and the guys in green come to L.A. on Feb. 21.

ROAD TRIPPING

The Lakers' longest road trip is seven games -- at Phoenix, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Orlando and New York -- spanning from Jan. 15-26. Their second-longest is a four-game trip through Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis from Dec. 13-17.

THE FINISH

The Lakers have a brutal six-game stretch to close out the regular season, which could prove challenging if they find themselves on the playoff bubble. It starts with a road game against the Clippers, followed by three games at home against Houston, Golden State and Memphis and ends up on the road in Utah and in San Antonio.

2011-12 Lakers Schedule: Road weariness (and weariness generally)

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
4:47
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
In some ways, the 2011-12 schedule for the Los Angeles Lakers is like a trip to the dentist. There's pain, yes, but the anticipation was probably worse than the actual procedure. Here's how the schedule breaks down, home and road over the course of the 2011-12 season:
  • DECEMBER: Home 4, Road 1
  • JANUARY: Home 9, Road 8
  • FEBRUARY: Home 4, Road 9
  • MARCH: Home 9, Road 8
  • APRIL: Home 7, Road 7

A few of the normal caveats apply. The Lakers gain what from what amounts to two additional non-travel dates, thanks to a pair of "road" games against the Clippers. Because of the Grammy's, the Lakers always travel heavy in February, so this season's schedule is no different. Still, when you start to break things down, the challenge faced by the Lakers (and all teams across the league) with the schedule crystallize.

The Lakers have one back-to-back-to-back, and 17 of more conventional back-to-backs. Of those, only one set (March 1 vs. New Orleans, April 1 vs. Houston) includes true home games. Two more contain faux roadies against the Clips, six are split, and eight take place entirely on the road. Certainly some tough stretches stick out, namely:
  • The Grammy trip (Feb. 3-12) is six games long, starting with a back-to-back at Denver and Utah, two tough places to play thanks to the home crowd and altitude. Later that trip, they get the Celtics and Knicks on consecutive nights.
  • After returning home for three of four, the Lakers finish their road schedule for February with back-to-back games in Dallas and Oklahoma City.

On the other hand, given how bad things could have been, in many ways the Lakers come out of this relatively well. First, by definition playing only eight games on the road against Eastern Conference teams limits the number of long trips. Second, the Lakers get their lone back-to-back-to back out of the way early, in the first three days of the season. Only one, Christmas against Chicago, is against an expected playoff team.

They play 11 of their first 15 games in Los Angeles, allowing them to maximize valuable practice time as they try to absorb new offensive and defensive systems under Mike Brown. Generally speaking, save a swing through Florida on Jan. 19 and 20 (at Miami, at Orlando) and the aforementioned trip through Dallas and Oklahoma City, the Lakers avoid B2B's against playoff-caliber squads, particularly on the road. During one stretch of five games in six days on the road between March 6-14, separated by a home date against Boston, they'll see only one high end team (Memphis) and four potential lottery squads (Detroit, Washington, Minnesota, New Orleans). Hard to expect anything softer.

Finally, in what are likely to be key games for seeding purposes in April, the Lakers host Dallas and Oklahoma City.

So again, it's not easy, but it could be worse.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES IN OUR SCHEDULE SERIES
The five most anticipated games
Who (or rather what) is missing? Toughest stretch Easiest stretch

2011-12 Lakers Schedule: Toughest stretch

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
4:18
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
While just about every team in the league, save for the Thunder and its fresh legs, was dreading the release of the schedule to see how many wicked back-to-back-to-backs they would have to endure, the Lakers ended up with the most agreeable three-in-a-row scenario imaginable.

The Lakers have to play only one three-peat and they do it to start the season in Games 1-3 of the 66-game schedule when their enthusiasm will be palpable and their focus reigned in. For a team that's already been quick out of the gates (8-0 last season; 7-1 the season before that; 7-0 the season before that), this a gift.

Now, Christmas Day hasn't been kind to the Lakers as they've dropped their past two to Miami and Cleveland, but the energy at Staples Center when the season tips off against the Bulls should keep them from laying a coal egg again. They follow with a game at Sacramento on Dec. 26 against a team that was 24-58 last season and finish back at home on Dec. 27 against the Jazz, who the Lakers regularly dispose of in L.A.

No, the toughest stretches for the Lakers are actually three games in five days, from January 16-20, when they play home against Dallas followed by a back-to-back at Miami and at Orlando and five games in nine days from March 21-29 when they play at Dallas, home against Portland, home against Memphis, at Golden State and then home against Oklahoma City.

The first stretch will give the Lakers an early test against the league's top two contenders. The second stretch will show if the Lakers belong in the top echelon of teams late in the season or if they're just another team in the running.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES IN OUR SCHEDULE SERIES
The five most anticipated games
Who (or rather what) is missing?

2011-12 Lakers Schedule: Who (or rather what) is missing?

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
4:17
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
When the league announced a tentative 66-game schedule, there was some speculation some teams simply wouldn't play each other at all this year. Those of you who can't live without those random matchups against lowly Eastern Conference teams can rest easy -- the Lakers will play every team in the league at least once. But because the schedule allows only 18 games against the Eastern Conference, sacrifices have to be made.

First, the Lakers play only three E.C. teams twice (more on that in a sec).

Home games: Chicago (Dec. 25), New York (Dec. 29), Cleveland (Jan. 13), Indiana (Jan. 22), Charlotte (Jan. 31), Atlanta (Feb. 14), Miami (Mar. 4), Boston (Mar. 11), New Jersey (April 3).

Road games: Miami (Jan. 19), Orlando (Jan. 20), Milwaukee (Jan. 28), Philadelphia (Feb. 6), Boston (Feb. 9), New York (Feb. 10), Toronto (Feb. 12), Detroit (Mar. 6), Washington (Mar. 7).

You'll notice the only home-and-home matchups this season include Boston, Miami and New York. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking this is no accident. Honestly, if the league had to stage a 10-game schedule, I suspect it would include these six games first, before the NBA's supercomputers figured out how to divvy up the last four. It's good for the game -- these are marquee matchups fans want to see -- but bad for the Lakers. With only 66 dates on the calendar, each game means that much more in the final standings. Clearly the Western Conference team drawing two dates against a set of lesser opponents has an advantage.

Other storylines we'll miss/other things we'll see:

(Read full post)

2011-12 Lakers Schedule: Top five most anticipated games

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
4:17
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
1) Monday, Jan. 16, vs. Dallas
A return to the proverbial scene of the crime. Getting swept is always humiliating, but the two-time defending champions became human white flags while bowing out. Beating Dallas doesn't automatically make the Lakers front runners for a 2012 title, but tying up these loose ends would feel good.

2) Thursday, Feb. 23 at Oklahoma City
Between their steady improvement, the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-James Harden core and collectively young legs well suited for a compressed season, the Western Conference championship strikes me the Thunder's for the taking. On the flip side, the Lakers are 4-9 against OKC (postseason included) since their emergence as a playoff team. To reestablish their championship mojo, maintaining success against a legit contender is a must.

3) Thursday, Jan. 19 at Miami
The Heat shellacked the Lakers at Staples last Christmas, then sent Kobe into a postgame shooting frenzy after a win in South Beach. Plus, you may have noticed folks like to compare Kobe and LeBron every now and then. It wouldn't kill the Lakers to beat these cats, especially if this emerges the Finals everyone's dying to see.

4) Sunday, Jan. 8 vs. Memphis
I'm guessing Memphis will be the fashionable dark horse team to win the West after last season's upending of No. 1 seed San Antonio and the return of Rudy Gay. "Pau vs. Marc" remains a fascinating blend of basketball and psychology, while Tony Allen defends Kobe as well as anybody.

5) Thursday, Feb. 9 at Boston
Two squads determined to keep the championship window pried open despite Father Time's agenda, and they genuinely dislike each other? Yeah, who'd wanna watch that?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0