Poll Question: Will the Lakers win at least 60 games this season?
Looking ahead to the remaining schedule, Lakers center Andrew Bynum shared two weeks ago that the team should aim to end the regular season with 60 victories. Back then, the Lakers were just beginning what would be a seven-game winning streak and the team had brainstormed ways to build momentum to ensure sharpness entering the postseason. Naturally, winning came to mind.
Lakers forward Ron Artest chalked an even more ambitious goal, trying to win out all the remaining games. Even if that didn't happen, the Lakers (54-19) are well within that 60-win plateau with nine games remaining. Of course, even the Lakers' recent six-game winning streak was met with justifiable shrugs among the team and media mainly because five of the opponents were sub.-500 teams and none of the wins featured sharp play.
It appeared the Lakers were on their way toward building momentum following a convincing victory Wednesday over San Antonio, only to quickly answer otherwise two days later with an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City. The Lakers bounced back Saturday with a win against the Rockets, so from the pure perspective of winning games, the Lakers are on their way to pursuing the goal Bynum outlined. It's a loose goal that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said the team should strive to reach.
"It's a goal. It's a huge accomplishment anytime you win 60 games in this league," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant told KCAL-9's John Ireland. "It's something that we should appreciate. We'll see what happens."
I've mentioned in several posts, specifically one here, that even with standings implications, the Lakers should worry more about playing their best every night than compiling as many wins as they can for two reasons. One, that approach naturally leads to victories anyway. And two, having home-court advantage doesn't completely camouflage a team's shoddy execution. Sooner or later, the Lakers may lose a home game in the playoffs. And I'm sure Lakers fans would hate to think the team's postseason chances are doomed the minute the Lakers lose a playoff game at Staples Center.
But forget that for a quick second. Do you think the Lakers will compile 60 victories? Before you vote, here's a look at who the Lakers play the rest of the season. The Lakers' remaining nine games are against New Orleans, Atlanta, Utah, San Antonio, Denver, Minnesota, Portland, Sacramento and the Clippers, meaning four of the contests feature non-playoff opponents. And four of the five playoff-caliber matchups all backend one other, meaning there could be added difficulty in either building momentum from a win or bouncing back from a loss.
Vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
-- Mark Medina
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