Dwight Howard #12 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after the game with the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. . The Lakers won 111-106. Bryant has focused on passing the last few games, and Howard was the Lakers' top scorer against the Hornets.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ three-game winning streak, as impressive as the play has been, was merely a confirmation that this team would not go gently into the night.
In order to come back to life, however, the Lakers need to win on the road, and a seven-game “Grammys road trip” starts on Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Winning at home was a prerequisite for the Lakers if they wanted any chance at the playoffs. They have met that minimum requirement and now have to meet the more challenging prerequisite of winning on the road. If the Lakers do not meet the road requirement, they will not be allowed to take part in the playoffs.
The Lakers have not recorded an away win since an overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors in Steve Nash’s first game back from a broken leg. That was before Christmas.
The Lakers have lost their last seven away games and are winless on the road for over a month. Overall, the Lakers are 5-15 on the road this season, third worst in the West.
LA takes a three-game winning streak on the road, but the Lakers have provided false hope several times this season.
Prior to the current three-game winning streak, the Lakers lost three games in a row, all on the road. Those three road losses followed two strong wins at home and a close home loss to the Miami Heat, the defending world champions. Fans and analysts expected the Lakers to build some momentum as the team boarded a plane to Toronto, but the Lakers lost in Canada and put together one of the more demoralizing road trips in a season filled with constant letdowns.
The lesson to all fans and analysts was clear: Do not take anything for granted with this bunch.
However, the past three games have featured something entirely different and refreshing. Kobe Bryant is passing more than he is shooting, the team is moving the ball, and the defense has been much better. More accurately, the Lakers have actually been playing defense.
If the Lakers can continue to put aside their egos, pass the ball, and play defense, they should be able to return to Los Angeles with some road victories and a clear path to the playoffs.
However, this team has taught fans time and again not to count them out or count them in. Just tune in and watch the Lake Show because everything is possible.