After suffering the worst loss in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers boarded a private jet to Denver, Colorado. By the time the Lakers arrived at the hotel and got to bed, the alarm clock read 4 am.
After being publicly embarrassed on national television in a 48-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, going to sleep was probably not the easiest task. However, the Lakers had a difficult game to play on Friday night, so the embarrassment in Los Angeles had to be quickly put aside.
Playing in the Mile High City is a disadvantage on any night, but playing in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back is the most pronounced scheduling disadvantage in the modern NBA. The Lakers may not find themselves down by 50 points on Friday night, but breaking the two-game winning streak and collecting a win is not likely.
Still, it is not impossible.
The Nuggets have won only two of their last 10 games; even the Lakers have a better record than that in their last 10 contests. At home, the Nuggets have a losing record, and Denver is not a playoff team. Even after all the turmoil in Los Angeles, the Lakers only have five fewer wins than the Nuggets at this advances stage in the season.
Ultimately, the Nuggets are not a good team; the Lakers are just worse.
For the Lakers, losing is not necessarily the worst imaginable outcome. Currently, the Lakers hold the fifth worst record in the NBA, meaning the Lakers have the fifth best chance to walk away with the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
However, that is a conversation for the end of the season.
On Friday, the Lakers play their 63rd game of the 82-game season. With 20 games remaining over the upcoming 40 days, Friday is one day and one game closer to the end of a miserable season.
Tip-off for the Lakers at Nuggets is 6 pm Pacific Time.