It is pretty absurd to make any NBA game a must-win in November. However, that is not stopping us from declaring the Los Angeles Lakers’ next three games must-wins.
The Los Angeles Lakers started off slow and currently hold a 3-5 record after defeating the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. This is not the start that Laker fans envisioned with LeBron James and the rest of the dynamic roster and certainly has taken many by surprise.
To be fair, for the most part, the fanbase has not emerged with outrage about the underwhelming Laker start. Most fans understand that this is a process and it is going to take time for LeBron to mesh with these young guys.
But still, a 3-5 is not something to celebrate and the Lakers have showcased some glaring holes that can hold them back in the big picture. Lucky for LA, there is plenty of times to fix those holes and talent alone should make the team a playoff team.
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The Lakers have to avoid falling too deep in a hole. This is not the weak Eastern Conference in which LeBron gets easy wins against lowly competition. This is the West, where most of the conference are playoff contenders.
While the Lakers’ opponents haven’t been particularly weak thus far, it could have been much tougher. Los Angeles has only scratched the surface.
That is why we are declaring the next three games for the Los Angeles Lakers as must-wins. While these three November games will not decide whether or not the Lakers make the postseason, it can set the table for potential momentum to flip the season around early.
The Lakers play the Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves. Portland and Minnesota are two likely playoff teams that have already defeated the Lakers and Toronto has looked like the NBA’s second-best team with Kawhi Leonard.
This is a challenging set for the Lakers and winning all three games would be huge to get this season turned around. Heck, even two wins over the next three are enough to celebrate about and enough for the Lakers to ride it into the next few weeks.
Los Angeles has some forgiving games after this three-game set. The Lakers have six games in the month of November that should be somewhat easy wins. Those games are two against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacremento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic twice.
If the Lakers can go 2-1 in the next three and 5-1 in those six that is a 7-2 month in the making. If Los Angeles can just win three of the other five games in the month that is a 10-4 month.
That would move the Lakers to a 13-9 record and right back in the mix of things in the Western Conference. However, dropping all three of those games puts pressure on the rest of the month and could lead to more mixed results.
Even if the Lakers fought back to .500 for the month after starting 0-3 the team would still be 10-12. There is plenty of time to recover from that but as time goes on the more the pressure begins to mount.
I have a feeling that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to walk away with wins against the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves and start the month of November off on the right foot.