There are three guarantees in life: Death, taxes and the Lakers playing down to their opponent. Think that’s an overstatement?
After losing to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and beating the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, the Lakers are now 14-7 against bottom-10 NBA teams this season, and 6-3 against bottom-five teams. Sure, it’s a winning record, but the number in the loss column should be significantly lower.
However, it’s not just the bad teams they play down to; they also play up to their opponents.
With the exception of the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, who the Lakers have yet to play, Los Angeles has beaten each other top-10 teams in the NBA at least once this season. Overall, they’re 8-12 against top-10 teams this season.
It’s a bad habit they’ve been unable to shake and no one knows why, including Kyle Kuzma, who said that its been one of the stranger themes with the team this season.
“It’s kind of weird that we play better against the better teams in the league and the play down to the levels of other teams, but just another day of life of playing in the NBA,” Kuzma said after the Lakers’ win over New Orleans on Wednesday. “It’ll be a lot of fun on Friday.”
“A lot of fun,” is one way to put it.
The Bucks, who the Lakers will see on Friday, currently hold the best record in the NBA thanks in no small part to the contributions made by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and his stellar supporting cast, including, but not limited to, All-Star Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon — and that’s just the starting lineup.
Hopefully the Lakers can continue their trend of being at their best against tough opponents, otherwise it could be a long night against Milwaukee.