One week ago today, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like a team filled with doubt. They were just 4-5 in their previous nine games, including several bad losses at home. They had not fared well against winning teams all season, and were about to embark on their most daunting stretch of the season, a Grammy-induced seven-game trek which featured five, maybe six games against playoff-bound teams.â†µ
Panic was so high in Los Angeles that rumors of the Lakers acquiring Carmelo Anthony took on a life of their own, even if it meant sacrificing center Andrew Bynum. Marv Albert, during TNT's Thursday broadcast of the Lakers' game in Boston, questioned the move, asking "Why would they give up their big front line, which is the advantage they have when it comes to the playoffs?" Albert's words proved prophetic, as Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for 36 points and 19 rebounds, helping the Lakers comeback from a 15-point first-half deficit to beat Boston, 92-86.â†µ
That win was the third win in as many games on this trip for the Lakers, who followed it up with an impressive 17-point win in New York last night. C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll sees marked improvement from the purple and gold:â†µ
It's become clear to me now that this road trip is actually a well planned marketing blitz. And the campaign's slogan is clearly "You guys didn't really think we were that bad, did you? Oops." Honestly, I'm not sure I want the Lakers to come back to Staples again this season. Just stay on the road fellas, it's apparently good for you.â†µ
Yes, sometimes all it takes is a week to restore confidence, especially for two-time defending NBA champions. By the way, this is the 11th Grammy road trip for the Lakers. They have had a winning record on the trip seven previous times, and in each of those seasons the Lakers have made it to the NBA Finals. The Lakers look to extend their winning streak to five on Sunday against the Magic in Orlando.