Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Lakers poll: What defines a successful road trip?
By Brian Kamenetzky
After Sunday's win over Washington, Phil Jackson was asked how he'd define success on the road trip the Lakers will kick off this afternoon, hopping aboard the team charter headed for San Antonio. 4-1? Maybe 3-2, given the injury questions?
"5-0," he said. "4-1 is acceptable, but that's not what champions look for going out on the road. And these are all tough games."
Yes, Phil, they certainly are. After Wednesday's date with the Spurs, the Lakers go to Oklahoma City, blow through Houston the next night, before finishing with New Orleans and Atlanta next week. Throughout the season, Jackson has tempered expectations on some of L.A.'s bigger road trips, talking about back-to-backs, playing good games, winning more than you lose on the road, and so on.
This time, he basically took out the white glove and slapped his boys across the face. There won't be paces and pistols, but Jackson's challenge was abundantly clear. Do you think he set the standard too high? What defines success for you? Exercise your democratic muscles and weigh in here, and as always, feel free to comment below:
I'm in the 4-1 camp.
.800 ball against this sort of schedule would require very good work from the purple and gold. Starting in San Antonio, 25-10 at home. Oklahoma City has lost two straight, but took the Lakers to OT at Ford Center earlier this season, and only the most inattentive of fans hasn't noticed their incredible talent pool. Houston is fading, but still play extremely hard, and present a challenge on the second night of a back-to-back. New Orleans got Chris Paul back in the lineup Monday and blew out the Mavs. Finishing in Atlanta against an athletic Hawks squad is no picnic.
But I love the peek PJ gave us into the process of converting his team to "playoff mode." We don't always get to see the sausage get made, but that was a big piece of pork shoulder dropped in the grinder.