Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are both out with injuries. Howard is out with a torn labrum and Gasol has a concussion. Based on how the duo of big men has worked together when they are on the floor, the only worse news for the Lakers roster than the two playing together is when they are both out injured. Without the tandem the Lakers allowed 125 points to Houston. Things between now and the next trip to Houston.
After 4 losses in a row, the Lakers now face San Antonio on the road tonight on the second half of a back to back, and follow that up with Oklahoma City on Friday. It’s obvious enough, but it’s the truth—the Lakers are deep in it if they don’t keep close between now and the mid February All Star Game in Houston. That is looking like a tall task.
13 of the Lakers next 20 games remaining before the All Star Game are against teams that are over .500. Ouch
The good news is that 7 of the Lakers’ 15 victories this season are against .500 or better teams. If that trend continues they could win half of the 13 upcoming games. Combined with wins over the sub .500 teams the Lakers could win 13 of the 20. Could
But with the Lakers terrible form this season and frequent injuries, they are not going to beat every one of the sub .500 teams. 5 of the Lakers losses are against sub .500 teams. Although 5 out of 19 isn’t bad, 19 losses is bad. So the Lakers will lose a few of those if form holds.
Those numbers support massive lapses of concentration and obvious consistency issues. The Lakers have very occasionally shown the ability to beat good teams. The overtime win over Golden State and Christmas Day win over the Knicks at the end of a 5 game streak come to mind. But losses to Cleveland and Sacramento spell lottery pick, not playoffs for this team.
If the Lakers can escape with a .500 record in the next 20 games before the February All Star Game, they will still be positioned (however poorly) to clinch a playoff spot in the final week of the season. But if they drop more ground against the 13 above .500 teams they are facing between tonight and February 14th, the pond of Lakers Drama will be more like an ocean.