The Los Angeles Lakers will hit the road with more questions than answers. Whether or not they come back with an improved record remains to be seen. Can they finally shed the excuses and play the way they're capable of, or is this who they really are?
Los Angeles is still reeling from an embarrassing 117-110 home loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night that highlighted some of their most glaring deficiencies on the defensive end. The game was a microcosm of the way the 9-12 season has gone for the purple and gold. To say it's been disappointing is an understatement.
Realistically, the Lakers have an opportunity to capitalize by playing some of the NBA's lesser teams. After facing the Cavaliers, they will face the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. With the exception of the trip to New York, the other three games look to be favorable.
But with this year's team, fans have come to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, all bets are off. The biggest question surrounding them at this point is whether or not they are feeling the sense of urgency that has much of Southern California griping.
"To me, this will be the time if we're going to do it," head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Now, again, I've been saying this for about a month now, so I'm getting tired of saying it and I'm sure you guys are getting tired of hearing it."
"Win," said Dwight Howard. "That's the only thing on the list is to win."
It's as simple as that. Or is it? With these Lakers, there's no telling what will happen.