Every team plays an 82-game schedule, but the Lakers have a relatively light path with only 16 games on consecutive nights, and no road trip longer than a five-game stint in March.
Starting April with a 38-35 or even 39-34 record may not be out of reach.
The final month features seven games at
April opens with a three-game homestand, starting with the
A visit to Denver the following night may prove to be the most challenging battle of the month.
The Lakers then are scheduled to return home for two against the
The regular season wraps on Apr. 15, with the Kings visiting the Lakers.
A 6-3 finish might lift the Lakers near the 45-win mark -- assuming a strong, healthy season in which they are more competitive than many might expect.
The Lakers have an unproven roster with new faces such as Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer,
The Western Conference is loaded with power teams including the
A slow start, key injury (or in last season's case, multiple injuries) or simply a potential talent gap may bury the Lakers before they ever get to April.
It took 49 victories for the Mavericks to make the playoffs last year, leaving out the 48-win Suns. A year prior, the Lakers were the seventh seed, tied with the eighth place Rockets with 45 wins.
It might take everything the Lakers have to get to 45. The postseason possibility may be more about the conference weakening than the Lakers' own success -- and there's little reason to think the West will be any weaker.
The final month of the season can be difficult to predict as the best teams often rest starters and the worst teams sit veterans to develop young players and improve their position in the
If the Lakers are clearly out of the postseason mix in March, the slide through to mid-April could be ugly. The Lakers may not be one of the top eight teams in the conference, but they are unlikely to be among the bottom five in the league.
The Suns will get the Lakers' draft pick, as part of the
If Randle, the fruit of that disaster, has a rookie-of-the-year-level season and Bryant shows few ill effects of his recent injury history, the Lakers may very well finish with a record above .500.
The playoffs may be the goal, but it's one that may be out of reach for the Lakers despite a solid season. If that becomes apparent too quickly to the Lakers -- extinguishing some of the team's fire late in the season -- a 36-40 win count isn't out of the question.