Los Angeles Lakers' Road Record Proves Importance of NBA's Pacific Division Race

Elizabeth BensonContributor IIIMarch 13, 2012

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles LakersRob Carr/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers' performance is a tale of two teams this season. There are the home Lakers, who thrive and appear to be NBA elites at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Then there are the road Lakers, who struggle with their offense especially and frequently look much too lost.

This concept is displayed in black and white. Their current home record is 18-2, which is tied for the best in the league with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. The Lakers road record is 8-14 after a grueling double overtime win against the Memphis Grizzles.

This is very different from what Lakers fans have been accustomed to throughout the past decade. Former head coach Phil Jackson notably determined the state of a team by examining their ability to win on the road.

Home court advantage has always been a desired factor with any professional sports team. But with the weaknesses of the current Lakers roster being in the spotlight in road games, winning the Pacific Division will be crucial for Los Angeles.

Achieving home court advantage in the playoffs is especially critical since the Lakers do not have the necessary practice time in between games (due to the condensed season schedule) to completely solve the problems they face on the road. With that said, the organization is looking to resolve weaknesses through trades and urging the team to tweak their approach during games and shootarounds.

The Lakers currently have a slight lead for the top spot in the Pacific Division, with a 1.5 game edge on their hallway rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers have dropped their last two games with losses against the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics. The Lakers showed they still had fight in them with big victories against the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics last week, but proved to still have major concerns on the road against the not-so-great Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.

Lakers fans and the rest of the basketball world do not know yet of the fate of Pau Gasol and the prospect of trading him to solve the weak spots of the Lakers, such as the point guard position. With that said, until there is a much needed turnaround with the road performance, the Lakers will need to remain pretty much perfect at home in order to win their division and count on that home court advantage to make a run in the postseason.