To say the Los Angeles Lakers’ February schedule is difficult would be a glaring understatement. The team plays nine of its 13 games away from Staples Center, including a six-game road trip to get the month started.
Given the fact the team has won only two road games all season long, fans will likely be watching games this month with one eye closed and a rabbit’s foot squarely placed in their pockets.
In the following slides, I have predicted the outcome for each of the team’s 13 games in the month of February.
The Los Angeles Lakers begin their string of six consecutive road games on Friday in Denver against the Nuggets. The two teams played each other in a home and road back-to-back earlier in the season, with the home team winning each contest.
The Lakers will head into Denver with a rare two days rest under their belts.
I look for the Lakers to pull off the upset in Denver, giving them their third road win of the season.
A night after playing in the high altitude of Denver, Colorado, the Los Angeles Lakers head into Salt Lake City to play Paul Millsap and the Utah Jazz. The Lakers defeated the Jazz in the middle of January in the midst of Kobe Bryant’s scoring tear, in which he scored 40 or more in four straight games, including 40 in the team’s overtime win against Utah.
A combination of the raucous Salt Lake City crowd wanting revenge from last month’s loss and the Lakers having played a tight game against the Nuggets the night before will result in a Jazz victory.
Forget the fact the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have had their share of struggles to start the season. This showdown between the two archrivals is still one of the most anticipated games of the 2011-12 season.
The Lakers will get the win over the Celtics, 88-84, behind a monster game from Andrew Bynum.
Lakers fans will temporarily exhale, after the team snags a quality win on the road against the hated C’s.
The Los Angeles Lakers routed the New York Knicks back in late December in their first meeting.
Schedule-makers did fans a favor by scheduling two games instead of one between these two storied franchises. The Knicks have been struggling mightily lately, having lost nine of their last 11 and have arguably been the most disappointing team this season.
As much as I would love to see the Lakers get the season sweep over the Knicks, I see New York winning in front of their hometown fans.
But everyone should keep a close eye on Kobe Bryant in this one. Kobe has notoriously played great basketball in the Madison Square Garden, including a 61-point game in February of 2009.
If he turns in a 50-point gem, the Lakers could prove my prediction wrong.
The Los Angeles Lakers conclude their six-game road trip against the hapless Toronto Raptors.
After the game remains extremely close through the first three quarters, Kobe will take over in the fourth, leading the team to the win and a 3-3 split on their six-game roadie.
The Los Angeles Lakers return home from their long road trip to play the Atlanta Hawks. After spending so much time on the road, teams often return home and lay an egg in their first game back.
Look for this to be the case with the Lakers when they play Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks, who will be playing the first game of a five-game roadie of their own.
The Phoenix Suns travel to the Staples Center for the second time this season to face the Los Angeles Lakers. In their first meeting, Kobe Bryant had his first of four consecutive games of 40 or more points, torching the Suns for 48 en route to a Lakers victory.
I see the Suns coming up short again in Los Angeles. The Lakers have too much size in the middle for Phoenix and will be looking for their first home win of the month.
For the second time in as many games, the Lakers and Suns do battle. Except this time the Pacific Division showdown will be played in Phoenix.
But just because the scenery changes doesn’t mean the outcome will. The Lakers will defeat the Suns for the third time this season.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ tough February schedule of games continues on the 20th, when they host the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland beat Los Angeles in early January, thanks to easy transition baskets and 14 turnovers from the Lakers.
While the Blazers haven’t had as much success against the Lakers in Southern California than they’ve had in Portland, the Blazers will win this late February matchup in overtime, thanks to 35 points from LaMarcus Aldridge.
Thanks to a late-game three-pointer from Derek Fisher, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the defending champion Dallas Mavericks last month. After starting the season losing five of their first eight games, the Mavericks have started to resemble the team that won the NBA championship last spring, having won six of their last seven games.
By the time the Lakers play in Dallas on February 22nd, I look for the Mavs to have regained their old form even more so, which will result in a double-digit Mavericks victory.
For the first time this season, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, who currently have the best record in the Western Conference (16-4).
This is the last game before the All-Star break, and if the schedule unfolds the way I have predicted, the Lakers will be trying to avoid a three-game losing streak.
This game will be close for one half before the Thunder prove they are ultimately too much for the Lakers, taking total control of the game in the second half.
After a six day break thanks to All-Star Weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers return to action on February 29th against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers will snap their three-game losing streak against the Wolves at Staples Center, thanks to a triple-double from Kobe Bryant.