It’s as if the NBA schedule makers want the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat to have the best records in the league going into their Christmas Day clash. The Lake Show is fattening up on sub-par competition while Miami is making quick work of their foes – season opener notwithstanding.
Miami only has four road games in the month of November. Just two of those stops are against playoff caliber competition (Orlando and Dallas). The other two are teams on the cusp (New Orleans and Memphis). Otherwise, if you check the schedule you’ll see the Heat is getting a steady diet of creampuffs with an occasional tough bite of steak mixed in.
December is a different story all together as the Miami Hype Machine hits the road. While they’ll rack up plenty of frequent flier miles, they won’t be sweating too many outcomes.
While the schedule does present few tests for the Lakers early, it happens to involve a lot of travel. Including tonight’s swing through Sacramento, the Lakers play 7 games on the road this month with Denver and Utah being the most difficult of the bunch.
Much like Miami, the Lakers are going to be living out of their suitcases during December playing 9 of 15 December dates away from Staples (one game is away @ the Clippers). Aside from the December 28th stop in San Antonio, the majority of the teams the Lakers will visit are squads that have ping pong balls in their future.
Ok, so this is the NBA and on any given night any team can be beaten. Nothing is guaranteed, we know this. But you can’t help but feel as if the league is purposely stacking the deck to ensure a heavyweight title fight on Christmas Day.
In recent years this has been a trend for the Lake Show. Just one year ago, we here at LSL were openly discussing the Lakers’ prospects of competing with the NBA elite due to a soft schedule early in the season. Then there is also the disproportionate amount of road games setting the stage for a nice home stand in March.
Whatever the case, this is the NBA and you’ve got to bring it every night. The recent first round KOs against Golden State and Memphis are expected of a championship caliber team. Just how Miami handles the bullseye on their backs night-in and night-out remains to be seen. Nice thing is the proof will be in the pudding and David Stern is banking on millions of eyes to be glued to the set come the end of December.