L.A. Lakers' Regular Season Checklist: 10 Things To Accomplish Before April

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IINovember 30, 2010

L.A. Lakers' Regular Season Checklist: 10 Things To Accomplish Before April

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 21:   Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles during the game with the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on November 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 117-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    For the Los Angeles Lakers, the 82-game regular season can seem like a formality, as the team anxiously awaits to defend its championship this spring. However, the regular season is not something to be taken lightly. There are many things the Lakers can accomplish to better their chances of winning a third-straight championship.

10. Beat The Miami Heat On Christmas Day

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    DALLAS - NOVEMBER 27: Chris Bosh #1, 2 #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on during their game against the Dallas Mavericks  on November 27, 2010 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    While the Lakers have much bigger goals than winning one regular-season game, there is no sense in giving the Heat confidence, and sparking a turnaround to their disappointing start of the season.

9. Beat The Boston Celtics

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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics reacts in the fourth quarter against the New Jersey Nets on November 24, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the nets 89-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Celtics come to Staples Center on Jan. 30 for the first meeting between the two teams since last year's NBA Finals. Come on, even if it is just one game out of 82, beating the Celtics carries more significance for the Lakers.

8. Get Ron Artest More Comfortable In The Triangle Offense

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ron Artest earns his money on the defensive end of the court. To this point, he has done a tremendous job as the Lakers' go-to defensive player. However, he still struggles on the offensive end. I know he hit huge shots in the playoffs last year and the Lakers probably wouldn't have won the championship without them.

    However, his indecisiveness on offense often stagnates the offense. If Artest can become a threat on the offensive end, in addition to his defensive brilliance, the Lakers become that much better.

7. Don't Fall In Love With Shooting Three Pointers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers puts up a three point shot over Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defe
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    To start the season, the Lakers are making a high percentage of their three-point shots. However, their current pace cannot be expected to continue. Last season, the Lakers were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in basketball. However, in some games the Lakers still continued to shoot a high number of three-point shots.

    The Lakers need to avoid falling in love with their early season hot streak and stick to the triangle offense.

6. Improve Defensive Rebounding

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 9:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves battles for a rebound with Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    While the Lakers are an outstanding offensive rebounding team, they are very average on the defensive end. Their defensive rebounding will improve once Andrew Bynum returns, but the Lakers cannot expect to win another championship without improving their rebounding.

5. Separate Themselves In The Western Conference

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    NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 28:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs at the New Orleans Arena on November 28, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Really, there is no reason to legitimately worry right now about a Western Conference foe challenging the Lakers in a seven-game series. With that being said, the Spurs, Hornets, and Jazz look like much improved teams this season. Not to mention, the young Thunder are always a concern.

    The Lakers need to take care of business and separate themselves in the Western Conference standings to secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

4. Take Care Of Business Against Weaker Teams

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on from the bench against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    When the Lakers are able to build big leads against teams, the starters often get to rest the entire fourth quarter. By beating up on the weaker teams early and often, the starting five will get to enjoy more of this rest, which will payoff when the playoffs roll around.

3. Get Andrew Bynum Healthy and Keep Him That Way

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers rebounds the ball in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Obviously, this is out of the Lakers' control. But if Bynum can remain healthy when he returns around Christmas, the Lakers are in great position to win their third-straight championship.

    In addition, when Bynum is healthy, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are not forced to play so many minutes.

2, Keep The Injury Bug Away

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    SAN ANTONIO - JANUARY 12:  The injured right index finger of Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers  on January 12, 2010 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Unfortunately, the Lakers really can't control injuries, except for trying to limit the starter's minutes as much as possible.

    For superstition's sake, we should all knock on wood right this second.

    After all, the dreaded injury bug is one of the only things that can derail the Lakers' bid for three-straight championships.

1, Secure Home-Court Advantage Throughout The Playoffs

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10:  Fans arrive for the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings on January 10, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is crucial to the Lakers winning the championship again this season. The last two seasons, the Lakers did not have the best record in the league, but were still lucky enough to have home-court advantage in the Finals against Orlando and Boston.

    Instead of having to rely on other teams losing in the playoffs, the Lakers need to secure the league's best record this season to ensure home-court advantage in every round of the playoffs.