The Los Angeles Lakers are looking like the Lost Angeles Clippers after the first five games, with their only win coming against the winless Detroit Pistons and some are already calling for Mike Brown's head. If the Lakers don't capitalize on their upcoming home stand he won't survive through Thanksgiving.
The Lakers are playing their next six at home and five of the six teams they play were not in the postseason last year. Here are the next six opponents and some thoughts on each game.
Golden State, Nov. 9
The Warriors are a much improved team, but they are also without their star center Andrew Bogut, who is getting shut down for the next 7-10 days. Without Bogut the Lakers should have a tremendous inside advantage. Simply feeding Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol should be enough to win this game.
Sacramento Kings, Nov. 11
The Sacramento Kings are once again a team that looks to be headed for the lottery and their offense is just awful. They can't shoot, as their effective field goal percentage is .443, the third lowest in the NBA. They only get to the charity stripe .174 times for every field goal attempt, which is 24th in the league.
When you can't make your field goals and you can't get to the line you can't score, and if you can't score you can't win. The cure for the Lakers' struggling defense could well be the Kings' offense.
Plus with Thomas Robinson still suspended the Lakers don't have to worry about choking.
San Antonio Spurs, Nov. 13
Obviously, this game is not going to be so easy. The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best teams in the Western Conference, but this could be a great opportunity for the Lakers to tip the scales on the season. If the Lakers can pull up to .500, evening out their record against the Spurs it would a huge morality lift.
This could be the game that late in the season is viewed as the turning point. It will be the Spurs fourth straight game on the road, so they should be a little tired. The Lakers need to take advantage of that.
Phoenix Suns, Nov. 16
Based on Basketball-Reference's SRS (a stat-based power ranking, and if you don't like it then talk to Nate Silver!) the Phoenix Suns are the fourth worst team in the NBA. If you can't beat the fourth worst team in the NBA at home you have no business entertaining notions of a championship.
Plus, wouldn't it be exciting if this were Steve Nash's first game back?
Houston Rockets, Nov. 18
The Rockets are the seventh best pick-and-roll team int he NBA, and they go to it 21 percent of the the time according to Synergy. The Lakers are ranked 26th in defending it and a large part of that is Steve Blake, who, as one of my commenters mentioned, "can't stay in front of an obese Walmart shopper in a wheelchair."
Mike Brown is supposed to be a defensive specialist and they have two former Defensive Players of the Year. If Brown can't figure out how to stop Lin and Howard with that, he doesn't deserve to be head coach. Let's not forget that the Nuggets provided the film on how to do it. Brown just needs to copy the formula.
Brooklyn Nets, Nov. 20
For all the talk about whether the Los Angeles Lakers should hit the button, why isn't anyone asking that about Brooklyn? The Nets have the worst margin of victory in all of the Association, getting wiped by an average of 11.33 points per game. Egads! This one could be the one that separates true disappointment from a disappointing start.
And perhaps Dwight Howard will finally show some motivation against the team that couldn't work a deal for him.
The Lakers don't have to win all six of those games, but if they don't emerge from them at least at .500 then it's hard to see how much longer Mike Brown can survive. The excuses only remain valid for so long. If the Lakers are still sub-.500 an eighth of the way through the season how can Mike Brown justify his job, especially in light of the winless preseason.
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