Lakers Playoff Schedule 2012: Why Home-Court Advantage Is Important for L.A.

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIApril 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Kevin Ebanks #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate in the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The  Lakers won 114-106 in double overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a 103-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
Harry How/Getty Images

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.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

This will especially be the case in Denver where the Nuggets are 153-44 since the 2007-08 season.

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Lakers will have to be on their toes against the youth and speed of Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo and the Denver Nuggets. They can't afford to take this team lightly.

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)