Five reasons Lakers struggle in road games
As the Lakers gear up for a back-to-back trip this weekend with games against Milwaukee and Minnesota, there are a few lingering reasons why they enter those games with a 1-6 road record.
1. Offensive inconsistency. The Lakers hardly boast a high-powered offense to begin with, currently going through a 12-game stretch in which they haven't scored at least 100 points. The Lakers have showed that lack of chemistry even more on the road. Consider the home-road discrepancy in points (94.1, 89.7) and assists (23.3, 19.1).
2. Tougher opponents. Don't be incredibly deceived by the Lakers' 10-2 home record. Seven of the 12 home games featured teams that wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended today. Meanwhile, the Lakers' seven road games featured six playoff-caliber teams.
3. Back-to-backs. Fatigue has quickly set in because of the Lakers' veteran-laden roster and Mike Brown's prolonged practices. That's why it shouldn't be surprising that four of the Lakers' road losses came on the second night of a back-to-back.
4. Lakers have closed out better at home. The Lakers hardly look like a finished product, even at home. Yet, even if the games have looked ugly, they've managed to close out home games in better fashion.
The Lakers' 92-89 victory New Year's Eve against Denver featured Derek Fisher diving for a loose ball and Steve Blake forcing Danilo Gallinari from converting on a late-game layup. Fisher secured the Lakers' 73-70 win Jan. 16 against Dallas, thanks to a game-winning three-pointer and two fourth-quarter steals. And Lakers forward Metta World Peace, of all people, made hustle plays and a timely three-pointer to fend off the Clippers this week.
5. Andrew Bynum and Matt Barnes remain inconsistent. The numbers speak for themselves. Consider Bynum's discrepancy in home and road games in both points (17, 14.7) and field-goal percentage (55%, 50.7%). The same applies to Barnes, whose 9.7 points on 50% shooting in home games takes a dip to 5 points on 35.3% shooting in road games. The explanations vary. Bynum began seeing more double teams in the Lakers' game at Portland and he fell into foul trouble against Miami and Orlando. Although Barnes constantly hustles and moves off the ball fairly well, he's lacks consistency in finishing his looks at the basket.
-- Mark Medina
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