The Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs!
After every win, no matter how few and far between, it seems someone is calling it the turning point, that “fulcrum” in the season when the Lakers pivot from the mess they have been, to what they were supposed to be. HoopsWorld wondered if their January 13th over the Cavs, following a six-game losing streak, would mark that point. Fox Sports West pointed towards the Lake Show’s January 15th 104-88 romping of Milwaukee as the turning point–a win succeeded by four straight losses.
I have held onto stoic pessimism until now. Today’s 106-96 home win wasn’t just another blowout of a softy, it was a hard-fought victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, arguably the best team in the league. Evidently there was some sort of private team meeting that got pretty epic before the January 23rd game in Memphis. Players aired their grievances and got everything out in the open. That meeting was followed by tough road loss in Memphis, where Howard re-injured his shoulder and didn’t play in the second half, but he’s back, Gasol looks healthy, and Steve Blake could be back by their next contest on Tuesday against New Orleans.
After the Hornets come to LA, an absolute must win game, the Purple and Gold embark on what will be the season defining road trip against: PHX/MIN/DET/BRK/BOS/CHA/MIA. They’ve been atrocious away from Staples Center this season, losing their last seven. Wins at Boston and Miami may be tough, but the other matchups are rather winnable, and if they Lakers have really found their game they should be able to win five of seven. If they again fail on the road it’s all over, so there’s no point in waiting anymore. I’m going to call it now: Today’s 106-96 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder will be the fulcrum win that marks the turning point of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers… and they will make the playoffs.
- Kobe, Nash take over as Lakers top Thunder (scores.espn.go.com)
- Kobe leads Lakers past Oklahoma City 105-96 (miamiherald.com)
- NBA-best Thunder fall to Lakers (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
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