Los Angeles Lakers: Predicting Each Game for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in March

Pat Mixon@patmixonSenior Analyst IFebruary 28, 2011

Los Angeles Lakers: Predicting Each Game for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in March

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat guards Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Arena on December 19, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Lakers 89-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES - MARCH 19: Shannon Brown #12 of  the Los Angeles Lakers bats a rebound away from Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 19, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Loss

    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

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    LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 27: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Charlotte Bobcats on January 27, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or usi
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 28:  Center Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on December 28, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
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    Win

    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

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    ATLANTA - MARCH 31:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks against Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Philips Arena on March 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Ph
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference dunks in front of LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference in the second half of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on Febru
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 19:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on January 19, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Jameer Nelson #14 of the Orlando Magic goes for the loose ball against Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game on January 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   The Lakers won 98-92.  NOTE
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 09:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots between Darko Milicic #31 and Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on November 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Shannon Brown #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles past Andre Miller #24 and Rudy Fernandez #5 of the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on November 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 121-96.   N
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Loss

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives with the ball on Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the third quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 27, 20
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    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers controls the ball against Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 108-95.  NOTE TO USER: User e
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 101-97.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Win

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers glides to the basket against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on October 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER:
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Win

    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.

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