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Injuries, Suspensions, New Management: Lakers Will Struggle in First 5 Games

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Pau Gasol #16 and Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers go for a rebound against Chauncey Billups #1 and Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center on December 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Hunter WrightContributor IIDecember 22, 2011

If the preseason is any indication of how the Lakers will fare at the beginning of the regular season, it isn't going to be pretty. With two losses to their crosstown rival the LA Clippers, the sports world is already seeing a shift in momentum in LA. 

Kobe Bryant has a torn ligament in his shooting wrist which is being listed as a "day to day'' injury. Even with Bryant playing, however, the Black Mamba won't be on top of his game. But at least their center Andrew Bynum looks good, racking up 26 points and 11 rebounds against the Clippers in their loss Wednesday night. If only he weren't suspended for the first week of the regular season, the Lakers might stand a solid chance.

Looking at their strength of schedule, the Lakers play a worthy group of teams in Chicago, @Sacramento, Utah, New York and Denver.

 

Without Kobe:

No Kobe, No Bynum, No Wins. I can see the Lakers losing against all five teams. Their bench just isn't strong enough to pull them through, especially with a new head coach in Mike Brown. There is just too much of a shakeup in LA for the Lakers to win many of these games.

The game against Chicago will be a brutal Christmas Day for Lakers fans everywhere. The Bulls already had a star cast of players and picked up Rip Hamilton during the offseason. There is no way the Lakers could pull off this win without Kobe or Bynum.

The only realistic shot they have is defeating the Jazz in LA and possibly winning in Sacramento after their beating from the Bulls. Sacramento finished the 2010-2011 season 24-58, but have added a couple of shooters like BYU star Jimmer Fredette. Utah was also horrendous last season, but C.J. Miles and Al Jefferson are two big names capable of keeping them in the game. 

The Knicks and the Nuggets both boasted above-average seasons last year and will both have their way in LA if Kobe isn't starting.

Overall Record: 0-5 (1-4 at best)

 

With Kobe:

Even with Kobe in the starting five, the Lakers will limp their way through the beginning of this season. They will fall to Chicago, New York and Denver with or without him, even though the latter two will be much closer. 

Without big man Bynum and with a maimed Mamba, they will defeat Utah and possibly Sacramento. Either way, it's going to be tough to be a Lakers fan through these first five games.

Overall Record: 2-3 

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