In this shortened NBA season, home-court advantage has arguably been more important than ever before. There were only seven teams in 2011-12 that had .500 or better records on the road.
Home-court advantage matters in the NBA.
Los Angeles will use its home-court advantage in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs to edge No. 6 Denver.
One might think that playing on the road wouldn't be that big of a deal for experienced veterans. This team isn't your classic, experienced road warrior, though. Los Angeles were 15-18 on the road this campaign.
However, Los Angeles was 26-7 at Staples Center this season; tied for the second-best record at home in the NBA.
Home-court advantage matters for the Lakers.
Many believe that Los Angeles will breeze by Denver in the first round. While that could happen, I believe that the youth and speed of the Nuggets will give the Lakers some issues.
This will especially be the case in Denver where the Nuggets are 153-44 since the 2007-08 season.
Bryant won't allow that to happen, however. He realizes that his time is winding down in the NBA, and the elusive sixth NBA ring is up for grabs. He won't allow his team to play down to the Nuggets in this series.
Prediction: Los Angeles wins in five games.
Full First-Round Lakers Playoff Schedule
Sunday, Apr 29 vs. Denver at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Tuesday, May 1 vs. Denver at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Friday, May 4 at Denver at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Sunday, May 6 at Denver at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Tuesday, May 8 vs. Denver (TBD)
Thursday, May 10 at Denver (TBD)
Saturday, May 12 vs. Denver (TBD)