January Presents Challenges Aplenty for the Lakers

The Lakers are 27-6 and owners of the NBA's best record. Much of that has to do with a home-heavy schedule, which saw the Lakers play 22 of their first 33 games at home.

After a 12-2 November, the Lakers followed that up with an equally impressive 12-3 record in December.

So far the Lakers are undefeated in 2010 thanks to victories against the Sacramento Kings and Sunday night's drubbing of the Dallas Mavericks.

But after Tuesday night's meeting with the Houston Rockets, the Lakers have a stretch that sees them playing 12 of their next 15 games on the road.

Considering the Lakers finished with the league's best road record last season (29-12), there isn't any reason to be overly concerned.

But with their unimpressive defense of late (Sunday's game notwithstanding), Kobe's finger issues, another hamstring injury to Pau Gasol, gastrointestinal issues for Lamar Odom, and the pratfall antics of Ron Artest, January's schedule should be a little bit more difficult than initially anticipated.

The most difficult stretch of the month is an eight-game road trip that includes three sets of back-to-back games starting Jan. 21 in Cleveland and ending Feb. 1 in Memphis.

Here's what the calendar looks like:

Jan. 21 @ Cleveland Jan. 22 @ New York Jan. 24 @ Toronto Jan. 25 @ White House Meeting with President Obama Jan. 26 @ Washington Jan. 27 @ Indiana Jan. 29 @ Philadelphia Jan. 31 @ Boston Feb. 1 @ Memphis That doesn't include a road game on Jan. 8 in Portland, and a back-to-back in San Antonio and Dallas on Jan. 12 and 13, respectively.

Of those 11 games, six are against teams that have defeated the Lakers either this season or last.

Of those games against teams who haven't defeated the Lakers in the last 12 months, one of the five is against the mighty Celtics, one is against the run-and-gun Knicks on the second night of a back-to-back, and two are aga...

About the Author