The Los Angeles Lakers have been invincible on the road this season. Nine of the Lakers’ first 17 games have been away from home so far, and they’ve won all nine of them. No other team has gone unbeaten on the road this season, and the 9-0 road start is a franchise record.
The Lakers’ record at Staples Center is a different story. In the eight games the Lakers have played at home, they’ve won four and lost four. On the road, they’ve had the best defense in the NBA. At home, they’ve been in the middle of the pack. So what gives?
Frank Vogel isn’t exactly sure, but he gave one possible explanation before the Lakers took on the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
“It’s tough to put your finger on it,” Vogel said. “I think there are different reasons why we’ve lost some basketball games (at home) ... I think it’s opponent-based, where we’re at in the schedule. A lot of the home losses have come after win streaks where we maybe got a little complacent, and then you go on the road after a tough loss and you’re more motivated to get that W. It’s one of those things that even out over the course of the season.”
To Vogel’s point about competition, the Lakers have played five teams with .500 records or better at home this season, compared to just three on the road. But there’s also something to the idea that the Lakers feel settled in at home, almost to a fault. On the road, they might feel like the underdogs, even if on most nights they’re not.
Whatever the case is, they’d better figure it out before the postseason starts. Imagine the amount of discourse there would be if the Lakers lost in the first round because they couldn’t win a home game? Yikes.