Los Angeles Lakers: Predicting Each Game for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in March
With Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers turning the corner after the All-Star Game and the home stretch of the regular season now upon them, can they continue their improved play in March?
Can Kobe use his MVP All-Star Game performance and take that bounce to catapult the Lakers back into championship form?
All indications appear that the Lakers are back on track. There seems to be a refocus and re-commitment, and that translates into the Lakers reasserting themselves as an elite team.
March also looks like we’ll see the return of Matt Barnes after he comes back from midseason knee surgery. His addition back to the bench will only help the Lakers regain their championship-caliber swagger. His energy and versatility also add to LA’s depth.
While February proved to be another up-and-down month for the Lakers, there seems to be a freshness and excitement that has come back over LA. The NBA trade deadline also passed with the Lakers standing pat, as predicted.
I did okay for the month of February, predicting a 8-5 month which ended up 9-4, better than expected.
I really feel that if the Lakers remain healthy, they will rattle off a long win streak of, say, seven-plus games, and March could be just the month to do it.
It won’t be easy with games versus Miami, Dallas and San Antonio, but it is also the perfect opportunity to remind everyone else that they are still playing for second place.
So, here are my March predictions.
Tue, March 1 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves at Minnesota
The Lakers seem to play close games with the Wolves, at least in Minnesota. For some reason, got a feeling the Lakers might stumble coming into this one.
It's a true test, after some tough battles and a four-game win streak, for LA to perform well against a poor team. Don't think it will happen.
But, this one will be close.
Fri, March 4 vs. Charlotte Bobcats
While the Bobcats have had the Lakers’ number literally since the inception of the Charlotte franchise, the Cats tend to get the best of LA on their home floor in Charlotte.
This game is at Staples in LA, and with the Lakers recommitted to championship hoop, this could be an easy win.
Sun, March 6 vs. San Antonio Spurs at San Antonio
Another chance for a statement game for LA? I think so.
This really is the last chance to give the Spurs a little reminder that the Lakers are still champs and that San Antonio better not get too far ahead of themselves thinking they are the best team in the West. They simply have the best record.
But talk is cheap, and in the words of New England Patriot Tom Brady, “Well done is better than well said.”
So, will the Lakers walk-the-walk and take this game in Texas? I say yes.
Tue, March 8 vs. Atlanta Hawks at Atlanta
The Lakers match up very well with the Hawks, and there is no reason that can’t extend into Georgia. I expect this one to be very close, but something tells me the Lakers will come with a lot of energy since this is another elite NBA team.
Thu, March 10 vs. Miami Heat at Miami
Won’t be easy—at all.
And, with the egg LA laid on Christmas Day, my prediction for a Laker win could be a real stretch.
But like the San Antonio game a few days earlier, this is a real opportunity for the Lakers to regain some championship swagger. Kinda like a chance to smack your little brother in the mouth and remind him you're still Big Bro.
Let’s hope Kobe brings his A-game and gives a couple of those “nice try young fella” butt pats he laid on LeBron James at this year’s All-Star Game.
Sat, March 12 vs. Dallas Mavericks at Dallas
Can the Lakers keep rolling against the NBA’s elite teams? Can they send another message to a championship pretender?
This one will be close, but without Dallas having Caron Butler who is out for the rest of the year, Dallas won’t have quite enough to handle Kobe. And, Lamar always plays Dirk Nowitzki well. I’m not talking stopping the German Scoring Machine, but Lamar holds his own.
This one might not be as close as you think.
Mon, March 14 vs. Orlando Magic
Orlando got the best of LA in Florida last month but here’s another chance for the Lakers to send a little memo to a team that thinks it's elite. (Note: The Magic aren’t elite and won’t even get out of the Eastern Conference if Boston is healthy.)
Although the way Magic center Dwight Howard can play when really dominant, Orlando could be a surprise come playoffs and may make me eat my words about them not making it to the NBA Finals.
I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
I don’t doubt this prediction. Lakers win in a tight one.
Fri, March 18 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
For some reason, not as easy as you’d think. I think it’s because both teams run the same triangle offense and know all the sets, so it just doesn’t seem quite as easy in real life as it looks on paper.
I hope I’m wrong. Either way, Laker win.
Sun, March 20 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is simply one of those teams that matches up really well with LA. And, with some of the personnel moves this year, they have a good chance to beat the Lakers, even though this game's at Staples.
I just think they’ll catch the Lakers without energy in this one.
Tue, March 22 vs. Phoenix Suns
Look for the Lakers to simply overpower in this one at home. As long as Kobe is facilitating, this one could be a double-digit win.
Fri, March 25 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Win, although not as easy as the one at the end of February.
Newly acquired Mo Williams from the Cleveland Cavaliers trade will be in this one and have had the entire month to get acquainted with Blake Griffin and company.
Look for a close game.
Sun, March 27 vs. New Orleans Hornets
I don’t know what it is, but the Lakers seem to have the Hornets' number this year. It hasn’t been like that in years past. Maybe something will change in this one, but I don’t think so.
This one could be close. Look for Chris Paul and Kobe to have big fourth quarters, but in the end, Laker win.
Thu, March 31 vs. Dallas Mavericks
Could it be two victories in one month versus the Mavs? I say yes.
Dallas is another up-and-comer, but since this one is at home in LA, I feel the Lakers will win.
It should still be a tight game, but by this part of the season, the Lakers will be in full playoff-ready mode, and this game probably won’t feel like a regular season game as both teams are probably going to be jockeying for playoff positioning.
Who is Kobe Bryant? Want to learn the details of Kobe Bryant’s legendary work ethic? Or why Kobe considers himself a “talented overachiever” or an “outcast” for much of his life? Check out the new book, The Kobe Code: Eight Principles For Success- An Insider's Look into Kobe Bryant's Warrior Life & the Code He Lives By, at www.PatMixon.com.