NBA lockout: Story lines Lakers miss in mid-November
The NBA schedule always remained a sham.
The public knew it when the league released it this summer during the current lockout. The schedule also officially became irrelevant when the NBA canceled the first two weeks of the season since any future games will have to be further modified. So with NBA Commissioner David Stern announcing that further games will be canceled through Nov. 30, the Lakers aren't suddenly seeing these six games evaporate since they would've been restructured anyway.
Still, with fans unable to witness the Lakers playing against Washington (Nov. 15), New York (Nov. 17), at Memphis (Nov. 22), at Oklahoma City (Nov. 23), Sacramento (Nov. 25) and Minnesota (Nov. 29), there are some story lines the public would've missed.
1. Could anyone stop John Wall? In yet another game where Lakers fans wish they could upgrade at point guard, the Wizards' speedy John Wall probably would have given the Purple & Gold fits.
2. No chance to see Melo in Knicks uniform yet. The Knicks' matchup against the Lakers would have marked the first time they played each other since Denver traded Carmelo Anthony to New York. New York's high-powered offense and zero defense would have done two things. The Lakers would've put on an electrifying show, and it would test them to see whether they can hold to their defensive principles.
3. No Gasol matchup. Nothing gets Pau Gasol more riled up than facing his younger brother Marc. OK, maybe Phil Jackson's needling also gets under Gasol's skin. But the Zen Master isn't here anymore.
4. Lakers-Thunder part 2. If the Lakers had fallen flat in their now-canceled season-opener, their rematch against Oklahoma City would have provided a good indication how well they could bounce back with a faster-paced offense.
5. Kevin Love homecoming. Never expect a Timberwolves game to be close. Not when David Kahn is in charge. But it's always fun to see the UCLA product return and match up with the Lakers. Andrew Bynum, Gasol and Lamar Odom would give Love some challenges on the glass.
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Photo: Kobe Bryant and teammates listen to the national anthem before the start of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center in April. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times