Showtime: 12:30pm PT
Plot: The great news is that this Lakers team finally gets a rest. They've been butchered with what will be five games this week, including two tough back-to-back sets involving the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets and of course, the worst loss in franchise history against the Clippers. They're finishing up with a Sunday matinee against the best team in the Western Conference in the Oklahoma City Thunder. After today's game, the overmatched Lakers will get a four day rest and just three games over the next 9 days. Great!
Well, the bad news is, the next four games that begin on Sunday against OKC includes another versus the Thunder on the road and then two consecutive contests against the second best team in the West, the San Antonio Spurs. It seems that the next week will be analogous to the season--nothing good can come without something bad evening it out.
The Lakers have won at home just twice in the past two months, with neither victory being over squads remotely close to matching Oklahoma City's offensive efficiency. LA has given up at least 132 points in the previous three games, which will no doubt come into play Sunday when facing the transcendent Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who fast looks like he is returning to the player he once was. The Lakers will try to slow down the leading MVP candidate with a combination of Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore, a solution that sounds about solid as gelatin. KD is coming off of two games where he's got 26 for 44 against two poor defense in Phoenix and Philadephia. Imagining what he'll do the Lakers excites me as a basketball fan and terrifies me in every other regard.
The Thunder are integrating in new rotation pieces like buy-out free agent (and old friend) Caron Butler and Perry Jones III with injuries to Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins, but I suspect this won't matter much in the game. The Lakers have been waxed the last two games with players like Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson all sitting out with injuries.
LA rebounded from a stupefying loss against the Clippers are home with a classier L in Denver the next night. There's no reason to suspect that the team will get better over the season's next month. The prospect of guys like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Nick Young returning this year looks more grim by the day--the reinforcements aren't coming.
This is your Lakers team going forward, friends. Get comfortable with them and start to enjoy the brilliance of the opposition. The Lakers have a "break" over the next 10 days, but the four intermittent games could be very, very rough.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino