Concerning trend proves Lakers' hot streak might be fool's gold

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

It may have taken an overtime period against a bad team but the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Washington Wizards on Thursday night for the team's second consecutive win. This gives the Lakers a 3-2 record since the All-Star Break and a 9-3 record since the start of February.

This hot streak is coming at the perfect time as the Lakers have some ground to make up in the Western Conference. Los Angeles is currently situated firmly in the Play-In Tournament and is 2.5 games out of being a top-six seed in the West. Climbing up the standings is possible, but the Lakers are going to have to earn every spot they climb.

The only problem is that the latest hot streak might just be fool's gold for the Lakers. While the team put together a strong record in February, it is hard to continue winning games in the way the Lakers are winning them. Los Angeles has relied heavily on hero ball in recent weeks, which is the most volatile type of offense a team can rely on.

Hero ball won't last forever for the Los Angeles Lakers

Ironically enough, the Lakers' record has gotten better as the team has run fewer organized offensive sets in the half-court. This indicates that the hero ball is working and it does not take a rocket scientist to see that. LeBron James just led one of the most impressive comebacks of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers with a hero-ball strategy.

This kind of play is great while it is working and it has worked for the Lakers in a small sample size. But it won't work against the best teams in the league. As games get tougher with the playoffs getting closer, the Lakers are going to find less and less success running this disorganized style of play.

There is too much individual volatility to rely on this style of play. LeBron James is 39 years old, Anthony Davis is inconsistent in big spots and D'Angelo Russell will straight-up disappear in the biggest series of the year. If the Lakers aren't having one of those three carry them offensively in any given night then they don't really have a clear path to winning.

Could this style of play get the Lakers into the playoffs, whether it be as a top-six seed or in the play-in? Sure. The team has enough talent to get by with this style of play and win a must-win game in the play-in if needed.

However, once a playoff series starts this is not going to work. There is no chance the Lakers can beat a team like the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, or Minnesota Timberwolves solely relying on hero ball. Can they win some games and extend a series? Sure. But it is not a long-term recipe for success.

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