The 2010-2011 NBA season gets up to full speed for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the month of November. But, the basketball gods (and NBA headquarters) have shined down on the Lakers and given them what appears to be an easy road for the first month of the Lakers’ NBA title quest.
The journey to a three-peat NBA championship for the Lakers is less sprint and more “marathon” as head coach Phil Jackson loves to point out. And, for this section of the race, the road looks flat and easy.
For the Lakers, the only month that truly matters is June. This November will be cruising time. It will allow for Kobe Bryant to continue to heal and get to 100 percent on his surgically repaired knee.
And, the easy road will also allow the newly acquired Lakers like point guard Steve Blake, forward Matt Barnes, and back-up center Theo Ratliff ample time to learn the triangle and gel with their new teammates.
What a flat road also does is give the Lakers momentum. Sure, the NBA season will balance out on the Lakers with stronger opponents and more road games as the months progress, but an easy start gives the team confidence when the days get tougher plus a cushy record that then can afford some losses.
But the start seems like a gift, although not as nice as last season. The Lakers opened the '09-'10 campaign with 17 of their first 21 at Staples. This season, things are far more balanced, with nine road games among the first 19. But, the quality of opponents is not high nor will the Lakers be taxed with a hard schedule. 20 out of the first 28 games the Lakers play this season are against non-playoff teams from last year.
And, the Lakers have the league’s fewest back-to-back games at 15 (note: Last year, the Lakers were among the league leaders in B2B's, with 20.) and, for this upcoming month, will only play two.
This is great news for Laker fans as it looks like by the time the games start to get harder (and more exciting like Christmas Day versus the Miami Heat), the team will have rolled through November, Kobe will be back at full strength, the new players will be clicking with the old, and injured starting center Andrew Bynum will be that much closer to a return in December.
So, here are each of the Lakers’ games in November, key factors of each contest and the predicted outcome.