Faster starts move to the top of their priority list

Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

It’s hard to be motivated by a three-game trip against teams that are 15-32, but the Lakers will try their best by aiming for some in-game goals of their own.

Indiana (6-10), Philadelphia (7-10) and Washington (2-12) won’t send anybody screaming for the hills, so the Lakers will counter by trying to improve upon some slow starts.

“I would say the first quarter,” center Andrew Bynum said. “We have to limit the amount of points by the other teams. If we’re not at home, we won’t have the fans or the atmosphere. It’s going to be momentum for them.”

Despite their eye-catching record, the Lakers haven’t blown out many teams in the first half. Their average point differential going into halftime is plus-4.9 points, but their average margin of victory is 15.5 points a game.


On the other hand, they’re 14-1 overall and 5-0 on the road, including a sweep on back-to-back nights in Dallas and New Orleans.

They get another back-to-back on this trip -- tonight at Indiana, Wednesday at Philadelphia -- but, well, the quality of opponent isn’t quite as exhilarating.

Not that the Lakers are allowing themselves to think that way.

“Usually teams play better at home,” forward Pau Gasol said. “You don’t want to come out thinking you have the win guaranteed. We have to go there, play hard and set a tone early on and do what we’ve been doing.”

The Lakers were a fairly strong road team last season, going 27-14 on the way to a 57-25 overall record.

No issues

A year ago, the Lakers were flopping their way to a 9-8 start, losing at home to Houston, New Orleans, New Jersey and Orlando, and logging lopsided road losses at Utah, San Antonio and Boston.

Now they’re two victories away from matching the best 17-game start in team history (16-1 in 2001-02).

“It definitely is better than we thought it would be,” Bynum said. “I’m happy everybody’s playing good and nobody’s gotten hurt yet. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Sun staying put

Sun Yue has had a rocky rookie season.

He missed most of training camp because of mononucleosis, and now he has been sidelined because of a sprained left foot. An MRI exam and CT scan Monday were negative.

Sun, who has yet to dress for a regular-season game, is being listed as day-to-day, though he did not make the trip with the rest of the team. The Lakers’ next home game is Sunday against Milwaukee.