The Best is Yet to Come

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok - AP
A lot of my stuff on the National Basketball Association has been about the past—and most likely it probably will be—but I’d like to take the time to look ahead (maybe occasionally back, as well) to what awaits us in the future.

The Lakers’ Up-Coming Excursion. I’ve talked about the Lakers and their road woes before, and one look at their record—2-7 on the road versus 11-2 at home—doesn’t bode well for what is about to transpire in the days ahead.

LAL begins a six-game road trip on the third of this month, and the games take place over the course of ten days. Moreover, nine of the thirteen games the Lakers play in the month of February are road contests, so if there was ever a time to get this whole problem straightened out, now would be the ideal time.

For those of you curious about the competition, it’s Denver, Utah, a day off, Philly, two days of rest, Boston, New York, day off, Toronto. My thoughts on Denver and Utah are in last week’s column, and the 76ers and Celtics aren’t much friendlier of opponents either.

If the Lakers come out of this one at .500, I’d be impressed, yet if not, then get ready for a long month, even if it is only twenty-eight days.

Thunder in LAC—And What it Meant. The 112-100 Clipper victory in California felt like a playoff game, but it’s more of a showcase of team identity than a mere teaser for the playoffs.

A battle in styles ensued, and the run-and-gun Clippers proved no match for the Team D that OKC normally plays; in fact, they even tried to keep up the pace with LAC—to no avail.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant both had more than thirty points, yet just like the last time this happened, the Thunder were on the losing end; maybe they’re just too balanced a team to have all of their offense come from two people.

The Clippers also displayed their plethora of guards. They basically have dual starting point guard in Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. And, as reserves, they have Mo Williams and Randy Foye who can play both the one and the two spots on the floor. LAC has a tremendously deep backcourt.

Both of these ball clubs have road tips in their not too distant futures, too. OKC plays five road games in seven days (followed by a much needed three days off), and LAC has six in eleven, so we’ll see how the Clippers fair on the road for an extended period of time, because they’re about to play as many consecutive road games as they’ve played all season.

East v.) West, Record Wise. Take one look at the standings, and this one’s not even that close, but a few things are worth mentioning. The Eastern Conference has eight teams below .500, and the West has only five.

But the real discrepancy occurs when you line up the playoff teams. The eighth seeds are the Lakers in the West and the Bucks in the East. No contest there.

And when I glance at potential representatives for the NBA Finals, I see something that truly shows the strength of the Western Conference: It’s wide open—especially when the seven game series start.

The East looks like (to me) it’s the Bulls’ for the taking.

On another future note: TNT has a double header for us tonight: Bulls @ Knicks and Nuggets @ Clippers. Enjoy, and please come back for more; you’ll be glad you did.

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