Take away the 3rd quarters of the last two games and the Lakers win easily, but that 66-31 combined whipping leaves a mark. I'm not sure what this means, but I've always thought halftimes were about coaching adjustments. I'm just sayin'. At least we're gone from Texas until March.
Anyway, certainly no time to panic. I think if you had asked any of us on October 30th if we'd take a 27-14 first half of the season, we'd have said Yes Please. How about a first half MVP? Yes Please. Right now we're solidly in that elite top tier, with the Spurs, Celtics, Suns, Hornets, Pistons, and Mavs. Not too shabby.
I figure a top tier team should be favored in every home game, period, and favored on the road against any team not in the top tier. That would lead to a 72-10 season, so getting upset every fourth or fifth game would lead to wins in the mid-50s -- right where the Lakers are tracking.
Here's how the season has broken down vs. this 72-win ideal:
Nov....(12-3)...(9-6)....Losses: NO, @MIL, NJ, @UTA; Wins: @PHO
Dec....(14-0)..(10-4)....Losses: ORL, @GS, @CLE, BOS
Jan....(8-3)....(8-3).... Losses: PHO; Wins: @NO
Only three of those losses really stand out in my mind: Houston, @Milwaukee, and New Jersey. Lucky shot, couldn't miss, and one rotten egg. Again, not too shabby.
After a home game against Cleveland tomorrow, the Lakers play 10 road games in a row leading into the all-star break. That's 1 top team (DET), 3 B-teams (TOR, WAS, ORL), and a ton of mediocre teams (NY, NJ, ATL, MIA, CHA, MIN). An ideal 9-1 record mitigated by 2-3 "upsets"... 6-4 would be reasonable. Is 7-3 too much to ask in their current injured state?