2015-2016 La Lakers finally have some pieces to compete

Well, its only taken two years. The Los Angeles Lakers have assembled a team, barring injury, which is a big hope, that can compete with the rest of the NBA. The biggest boost is the return of superstar Kobe Bryant. Can he stay healthy? At the point he got hurt last season, Kobe was playing great basketball. He was getting his teammates involved, scoring, rebounding, and being that leader the young group needed. With some solid veteran pickups that the front office acquired this off season, Kobe has some pieces that can help him take this team back to the playoffs.

Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, and Roy Hibbert. They may not be the house hold names like Lebron, Carmelo, and Durant, but these are the type of players that solid teams are built. Hibbert was an all star from Indiana that is just a beast. He can be that defensive presence that the Lakers have been lacking for years. A change of scenery might be all that he needed to get back into form. Lou Williams is the reigning sixth man of the year. If you polled one hundred Laker fans, most probably never heard of him. He played in Toronto and was arguably their best player. With being little known throughout, the Lakers might of got the steal of free agency with him. Add those guys and Brandon bass, a durable Veteran that hasn’t missed a game in three seasons, while putting up some solid numbers. Three hungry guys that have and want to prove that they are stars, look out!

Now for the young guys, Jordan Clarkson, fresh off being named first team all rookie last season, was the surprise of the draft last year. He can score, pass, and defend. He was the lone bright spot of the Lakers. With a year under his belt, even better things are coming this season. Julius Randle returns after playing just twenty minutes last season. His play could be the big X factor this season. If he plays to his potential, and of course stays healthy, that could be the determining factor on whether this is a playoff team or not. Last but not least, first round pick Deangelo Russell. He has the talent to be one of the great ones. A household name for years to come. He showed flashes in summer league and looks to be willing to put in the work necessary to be great. Only time will tell but he is going to be fun to watch.

With this wonderful mix of Veteran and young talent, coupled with a little luck, the Los Angeles Lakers have the makings of a winning combination. At least they have created some buzz around L.A. these days. Something that has been missing for the last few years.

2014-15 Game Predictions

LA Lakers 2014-15 Game Predictions

 

Another basketball season is about to start, and it’s something to be excited about, especially if you’re an LA Lakers fan! After the most recent draft rounds and changes for the team, the LA Lakers are set for an exciting season. This team will face off against old rivalries, all with the hope of bringing home those wins.

This season, you can expect to see the LA Lakers play against a quite a few rival teams. These games are sure to be exciting, especially against the Houston Rockets on October 28th. This game is predicted to be the most exciting game of the season, since they’ll be facing “the Dwightmare” on their opening night. In addition to this exciting game, the LA Lakers are set to play the Clippers on October 31st in a heated battle for Los Angeles. The season will continue with games against such teams as the Spurs, the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics. Lakers fans can look forward to each of these games as the season progress.

Want to know more about these exciting games? Check out these game predictions for the LA Lakers 2014-15 season.

 

 2014-15 Game Predictions

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Fans Hope For A Better Year As The 2014-2015 Lakers Schedule Gets Released

The 2014-2015 NBA regular reason schedule was released last week, the Lakers schedule doesn’t look as demanding as some other teams in terms of back to back games, or extended road trips, but due to the fact that the Lakers finished 14th in the Western Conference last season, they will not be featured as much on television as they have in the past.

Expectations might be low for the Lakers this season, because they lost Pau Gasol, and failed to sign any big name free agents during the summer, but as long as Kobe Bryant can remain healthy, and provide the same type of offense he gave the team before his injury in 2012, they will still be a threat to make the playoffs in the Western Conference.

Some of the highlights of the newly released schedule are listed below:

 

Tuesday, October 28, Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

The opening night match will be Kobe Bryant’s first game against the Rockets since Dwight Howard left the Lakers, and Kobe’s first game back since he was injured after playing only six games last year.

 

Friday, October 31, Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN

This is the first meeting of the year between the two rivals who share the same roof, the Clippers had the edge last year, but the return of Kobe Bryant gives the Lakers a chance of at least splitting the season series.

 

Friday, November 14, Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, at 10 PM. ET. On ESPN

The defending NBA Champions pay a visit to their old rivals; the Spurs have had the recent edge in the series, and will try to continue their dominance of the Lakers.

 

Friday, December 19, Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Kevin Durant, the current league MVP will be going up against Kobe Bryant, a former league MVP, in a battle of two of the best scorers in the league.

 

Thursday, January 15, Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James renew their rivalry, when James comes to Los Angeles for the first time since his return to Cleveland.

 

Thursday, January 29, Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Pau Gasol makes his return to the staples center as a member of the Bulls, and will probably be cheered by the Lakers and fans, because of his contributions during their last two championship runs.

 

Sunday, February 22, Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, at 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

This will be the latest chapter in the historic rivalry between these two teams.

 

Wednesday, April 15, Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings, at 10:30 PM. ET.

This will be the regular season finale, against one of their biggest rivals during the three peat era of Shaq and Kobe.

 

Here is a look at the complete schedule for the Lakers(dates and times subject to change).

Tuesday, October 28, Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Wednesday, October 29, Lakers @ Phoenix Suns, at 10 PM. ET.

Friday, October 31, Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN

Saturday, November 1, Lakers @ Golden State Warriors, at 10:30 PM. ET. On NBATV

Tuesday, November 4, Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, November 9, Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, November 11, Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies, at 8 PM. ET.

Wednesday, November 12, Lakers @ New Orleans Pelicans, at 8 PM. ET.

Friday, November 14, Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, at 10 PM. ET. On ESPN

Sunday, November 15, Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, November 18, Lakers @ Atlanta Hawks, at 7:30 PM. ET.

Wednesday, November 19, Lakers @ Houston Rockets, at 9:30 PM. ET. On ESPN

Friday, November 21, Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks, at 8:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, November 23, Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Wednesday, November 26, Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, at 10:30 PM. on NBATV

Friday, November 28, Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, November 30, Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, December 2, Lakers @ Detroit Pistons, at 7:30 PM. ET.

Wednesday, December 3, Lakers @ Washington Wizards, at 7 PM. ET.

Friday, December 5, Lakers @ Boston Celtics, at 7:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, December 7, Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, December 9, Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Friday, December 12, Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs, at 9:30 PM. ET. On ESPN

Sunday, December 14, Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves, at 7 PM. ET.

Monday, December 15, Lakers @ Indiana Pacers, at 7 PM. ET.

Friday, December 19, Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Sunday, December 21, Lakers @ Sacramento Kings, at 6 PM. ET.

Tuesday, December 23, Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors, at 10:30 PM.

Thursday, December 25, Lakers @ Chicago Bulls, at 8 PM ET. On TNT

Friday, December 26, Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks, at 8:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, December 28, Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, December 30, Lakers @ Denver Nuggets, at 9 PM. ET.

Friday, January 2, Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, January 4, Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers, @ 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV

Monday, January 5, Lakers @ Portland Trailblazers, at 10 PM. ET.

Wednesday, January 7, Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Friday, January 9, Lakers vs. Orlando Magic, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, January 11, Lakers vs. Portland Trailblazers, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, January 13, Lakers vs. Miami Heat, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Thursday, January 15, Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Friday, January 16, Lakers @ Utah Jazz, 9 PM. ET.

Monday, January 19, Lakers @ Phoenix Suns, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Wednesday, January 21, Lakers @ New Orleans Pelicans, 8 PM. ET.

Friday, January 23, Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs, at 8:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, January 25, Lakers vs., Houston Rockets, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, January 27, Lakers vs. Washington Wizards, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Thursday, January 29, Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Sunday, February 1, Lakers @ New York Knicks, at 2 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Wednesday, February 4, Lakers @ Milwaukee Bucks, at 8 PM. ET.

Friday, February 6, Lakers @ Orlando Magic, at 7 PM. ET.

Sunday, February 8, Lakers @ Cleveland Cavaliers, at 3:30 PM. ET. On ABC.

Tuesday, February 10, Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Wednesday, February 11, Lakers @ Portland Trailblazers, at 10 PM. ET.

Friday, February 20, Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, February 22, Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, at 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

Wednesday, February 25, Lakers @ Utah Jazz, at 9 PM. ET.

Friday, February 27, Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, March 1, Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, at 3:30 PM. ET. On ABC.

Tuesday, March 3, Lakers @ Charlotte Hornets, at 7 PM. ET.

Wednesday, March 4, Lakers @ Miami Heat, at 8 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Friday, March 6, Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies, at 8 PM. ET.

Sunday, March 8, Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks, at 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

Tuesday, March 10, Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Thursday, March 12, Lakers vs. New York Knicks, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Sunday, March 15, Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Monday, March 16, Lakers @ Golden State Warriors, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Thursday, March 19, Lakers vs. Utah Jazz, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, March 22, Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers, at 9:30 PM. ET.

Tuesday, March 24, Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder, at 8 PM. ET. On TNT.

Wednesday, March 25, Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves, at 8 PM. ET.

Thursday, March 27, Lakers @ Toronto Raptors, at 7:30 PM. ET.

Sunday, March 29, Lakers @ Brooklyn Nets, at 3:30 PM. ET.

Monday, March 30, Lakers @ Philadelphia 76ers, at 7 PM. ET.

Wednesday, April 1, Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Friday, April 3, Lakers vs. Portland Trailblazers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On ESPN.

Sunday, April 5, Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers, at 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

Tuesday, April 7, Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers, at 10:30 PM. ET. On TNT.

Wednesday, April 8, Lakers @ Denver Nuggets, at 9 PM. ET.

Friday, April 10, Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, at 10:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

Sunday, April 12, Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks, at 9:30 PM. ET. On NBATV.

Monday, April 13, Lakers @ Sacramento Kings, at 10 PM. ET.

Wednesday, April 15, Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings, at 10:30 PM. ET.

Possible Coaching Candidates

The Next Coach for the LA Lakers

The LA Lakers are bound to have a great 2014 season due to the changes the team is making. Not only have the LA Lakers picked up some great players through the NBA draft and through trades, the LA Lakers are also hoping to find a coach that can take the team far.

Currently, the LA Lakers are searching for the perfect coach to take the helm for the 2014 season. There are many candidates they are considering, all of whom have something special to offer the team. One of the best candidates the Lakers are considering is Lionel Hollins. This candidate has the leadership skills needed to take the Lakers to the next level, but the team might miss out on this great candidate since he is also interviewing in Cleveland. If Lionel Hollins is not an option, then the next best candidate is Byron Scott. This candidate is actually an ex-player for the LA Lakers, making him a fan favorite. Byron Scott has already won the Coach of the Year award, proving that he knows how to coach a team to success.

Although these top two candidates would be ideal to take over the coaching position for the LA Lakers, there are other candidates being considered. If you’ve been following the changes being made by the Lakers, continue reading the following infographic and learn more about all of the candidates being considered for the coaching job.

Possible Coaching Candidates

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What’s Next For The LA Lakers?

With the NCAA basketball season ending and the NBA basketball season in its home stretch, basketball fans are already making predictions for the next season. Once March Madness is complete and the 2014 NBA draft lineup is set, NBA general managers are starting to decide who will make the cut for the next season. Some existing NBA contracts will be renewed while others will be traded. In addition to existing NBA players being signed, new players will also be picked up from college teams.
With their current win versus loss ratio, the L.A. Lakers are hoping to use the NBA Draft in order to sign some new players. Since the L.A. Lakers will have a lottery pick for the 2014 NBA Draft, the team should be able to pick up talent that will improve the team. This is good news since there are a lot of potentially great players ready to start their professional basketball career. In addition to signing some top picks from the 2014 NBA Draft, the L.A. Lakers are also hoping to sign some free agents. A few strong players have contracts that will expire after the 2013-2014 season and the L.A. Lakers are interested in offering these players contracts. By signing strong draft picks and free agents, the L.A. Lakers should have a great 2014-2015 season.

What's Next for the LA Lakers

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Good News For LA Lakers As Injured Starters Return To Practice

The Los Angeles Lakers, a team that was supposed to contend for a playoff berth earlier this season now find themselves with the second worst record in the Western Conference. The team was competitive earlier in the season, but has been unable to avoid the injury bug, which has taken its toll on the team. Now would be a good time to get some great Lakers tickets. Once the starters return to active duty, the season could turn for the better.

Former League MVP Kobe Bryant has only played in 6 games, because he suffered a knee injury after returning from a torn Achilles that he suffered last season. Starting point guard Steve Nash has only played in 6 games this season, his backups Steve Blake and Jordan Famar have only played in 21 and 22 games respectively.

The Lakers only managed to win three games in January, and are currently 16-31, which is 4th in the Pacific Division, and 10.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks who are currently 8th in the Western Conference and hold the final playoff spot. They still have a slight chance of clinching the final playoff spot, but will need to drastically improve their play and hope the teams ahead of them go on losing streaks.

On offense the Lakers average 100.6 points a game, which is 15th in the league, but they allow 106.1 points per game on defense, which is 29th in the league. If they can find a way to improve their defensive intensity, it will lead to more scoring opportunities on offense and give them a better chance of winning games.

Los Angeles head coach Mike D’Antoni favors a fast paced offense which forces the team to take a lot of quick shots and 3 pointers. The Lakers are 5th in the league averaging 25 3-point attempts a game, but are only making 9.1 of those shots per game. The misses gives their opponents a lot of opportunities to score in transition because the team doesn’t have enough time to get back on defense. D’Antoni needs to take advantage of having a big man like Gasol who is good in the post and play more half court offense, which slows the tempo of the game down, and gives his team a better chance of getting back on defense.

The good news for the Lakers is that they are getting some of their injured players back soon, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmer all returned to practice this week, and are hoping to be back on the court soon. Kobe Bryant is also expected to resume practice soon and join the team after the All Star break

In their absence Kendall Marshall, the fourth point guard to start for the team has been playing well since he was signed, averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 assists per game since the team signed him. Former All Star center Pau Gasol has also been playing well so far this season, averaging 17 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Historically the Lakers have always played better after the All Star game, which includes last season where they went into the All Star weekend with a 25-29 record and finished the season 45-37. They have their work cut out for them this season, and will need Kobe Bryant to return to his All Star form immediately, and hope the team can quickly get on the same page if they are going to have a chance of making the playoffs.

Team Injuries Will Make It Difficult For The Lakers To Rebound During The 2013-14 Season

Los Angeles Lakers fans are in a position they aren’t too familiar with, their team is losing a lot of games and there is no end in sight. They were in a similar situation last season because of injuries, at one point they were 8 games below .500 but the fans continued to buy Lakers tickets knowing that they would fight their way back because of all the talent they had.

There is no such hope this season, the team played very hard early in the season to stay around .500 until their star player Kobe Bryant mad it back from an Achilles injury he suffered late last season. Bryant made it back earlier than expected, but only managed to play in six games before losing him again to injury, this time for 6 weeks with a fracture in his knee. They have lost 7 out of 9 games since Bryant’s injury, and are fourth in the Pacific Division at 14-20.

If the injury to Bryant wasn’t enough, the Lakers point guards seem to be dropping like flies. They are still without the services of point guard Steve Nash, who has only played in 6 games this season, with no timetable for his return. Backup point guard Steve Blake has also been injured for close to a month, with an elbow injury. Jordan Farmer, who just returned from a hamstring tear, tore another hamstring and is out for at least 4 weeks. Kendall Marshall is the 4th player to start at point guard for the Lakers this season.

On offense, the Lakers are 16th in the league scoring 99.7 points. On defense they are allowing 104.2 points per game, which is 28th in the league. The average offense can be attributed to the injuries to Byrant, Nash, and Farmar. Head coach Mike D’Antoni has never been known as a defensive coach, but he needs to get his team to start playing better defense or else they will end up being a lottery team and he will have to dust his resume off because he will be looking for a new job.

The Lakers still have a chance to make the playoffs, but need a few things to go their way. Unfortunately for them they play in the Western Conference, which is tougher than the Eastern Conference where teams can make the playoffs with a sub .500 record. They will need to win at least 45 games like they did last season, and will need Bryant and the other injured players to return from injury, which will provide some much needed depth for the team.

Realistically, their chances of making it are rather slim because of the competition they have to face in the Western Conference. Even if Kobe Bryant comes back early from his injury, he is most likely going to be rusty and it will take some time to develop some chemistry with some of his teammates since he has only played 6 games so far this season. They will also need to pick up their defensive intensity drastically for them to even have a shot at the playoffs, which doesn’t seem likely.

Los Angeles Lakers 2013-14 Season Update

The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2013/2014 season in a position they are not familiar with, as underdogs. They started last season as a favorite to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, with the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, but couldn’t live up to the lofty expectations because of injuries, coaching changes, and other distractions.

In the offseason, the Lakers failed to resign Dwight Howard who ended up signing with the Houston Rockets, so they used the money they would have spent on Howard to sign other players like Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman, and Nick Young, they also brought back a familiar face in Jordan Farmer who won two championships with the team before leaving to play for the former New Jersey Nets.

Because of their inability to sign any big name free agents, and the Achilles injury Kobe Bryant suffered late last season, the Lakers were not supposed to be a good team this year. Even with a healthy Bryant, most experts had them missing the playoffs, with a few giving them a chance to clinch the eighth and final spot.

So far this season, the Lakers have been surprising people with their strong play, after 18 games, they are 9-9 and in 4th place in the Pacific Division, which is very impressive considering they are still without All-Star Kobe Bryant who is expected to rejoin the team later this week or early next week. They are currently 1 game behind the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State warriors for the 8th and final playoff berth, and are very much in the playoff picture.

Veteran center Pau Gasol leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and is getting a lot of help from the bench which was one of the worst in the NBA last season.

So far this season the Lakers have had impressive wins against the Los Angeles Clippers who are on top of the Pacific Conference, Houston Rockets who have the 5th best record in the Western Conference, and the Golden State Warriors who are currently 8th in the Western Conference

The Lakers also have wins against the Atlanta Hawks, and Detroit Pistons, two teams in the Eastern Conference contending for playoff spots, and have defeated teams with losing records like they are supposed to like the Brooklyn Nets, and Sacramento Kings. They have lost to some of the best teams in the league like the defending Western Conference Champions San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and the surprising Portland Trailblazers, but that is to be expected since their best player was out for all those games.

The Lakers are playing pretty well on offense, they are currently 14th in the league averaging 101.1 points per game, and that will improve once they get Bryant back. The defense on the other hand needs a lot of work, head coach Mike D’antoni has never been known as a defensive coach, but he needs to get his team on the same page defensively because they allow 102.9 points a game which is 27th in the league, and it is almost impossible to make the playoffs if you allow other teams to score more than you do.

Three of the Lakers four home losses came against the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Trailblazers; they are acceptable losses because two of those teams are on top of the western Conference and have only lost three games each so far. They still need to defend their home court better especially when Kobe Bryant returns because their best chance of making the playoffs is to win as many home games as possible especially if the team is not good on the road.

Road games have not been good to the Lakers in the past two seasons, they were 16-25 last season, and are currently 3-5. Though it is not as bad as last year, they still need to improve their play on the road because they will need to win on the road in the playoffs if they plan to make a serious run.

Other than Kobe Bryant, the team was relatively healthy the first month of the season. That isn’t the case anymore, Pau Gasol has been bothered by an ankle sprain, but he isn’t expected to miss any action, Jordan Farmer who has been part of the resurgent bench has a torn hamstring, and is expected to miss at least four weeks, Steve Nash is still recovering from a nerve irritation and hasn’t played in a month. The Lakers are hoping to have Nash and Bryant back soon so they should be okay, especially if the role players continue playing as well as they have.

The Western Conference has always been tough when it comes to making the playoffs, and this year isn’t going to be any different. The Lakers were the 7th seed last year with 45 wins, so they will need at least 45 wins again this year to make the playoffs. They have a good chance of making it because they have won half of the games they have played so far, and with the return of Bryant they should be able to win more than half of their remaining games.

They are currently competing with Phoenix, Golden State, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans for the final spot, Memphis lost one of their star players to injury and aren’t playing very well without him, New Orleans, and Phoenix are still young teams and are probably a year away from really competing, Golden State and Dallas are the real threats, the Lakers are 1-1 against Golden State and 0-1 against Dallas, they need to win the season series against both teams and get the tie breaker advantage in case they all finish the season with the same record.

Lakers vs. Hawks – LA’s Winning Streak Continues

Its been a tough year for the Los Angeles Lakers to this point. Even after winning 4 of 5 since February 20th they entered Sunday night, 1 game below .500 with a 29-30 win/loss record. The Atlanta Hawks swooped into the Staples Center after losing in the desert Friday night to the Phoenix Suns. Previously the Hawks had won 4 straight. As it turned out this proved to be one of the more entertaining contests of the year thus far. Kobe Bryant scored the Lakers last 6 points in route to a thrilling 99-98 victory.

To say the game got off to a slow start would be an understatement. The score was Lakers 2, Hawks 1 after over 2 minutes of play in the first quarter. The trio of Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard made the rest of the opening period much more enjoyable for Lakers fans combining for 20 points. The first quarter ended with the Lakers up 30-26. The second quarter was equally as close with Antawn Jamison entering the scoring mix and Howard continuing to contribute. Jamison had 7 points including a 25 foot three pointer and Howard added 6 to his initial quarters production. The half ended with Bryant making one of two from the charity stripe and the Lakers ahead 52-45/

After intermission, the first half of the third quarter was all Lakers. The L.A. defense held Atlanta to 6 points in the first 5:12 of the frame. With 6:48 remaining, Howard made a 2 pointer off a Bryant assist and the Lakers were up by 16! Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse after that. The Hawks out scored the Lakers 22-12 in the remaining 6 minutes of the quarter allowing Atlanta to get back in the game with the score 79-73 in the Lakers favor prior to the beginning of the last quarter.

Circumstances continued to go in the Hawks favor early in the fourth quarter. Atlanta’s Kyle Korver hit a 3 pointer early on and added a 19 foot jumper to tie the game at 80 with 10:42 remaining in the contest. There was little scoring in the next couple of minutes, but when Hawks forward Al Horford dunked following a bad pass by Steve Blake, Atlanta led for the first time 84-83. Metta World Peace insured the Hawks lead didn’t last long hitting one from beyond the arc and re-establishing the Lakers lead to 86-84. The game then went back and forth with several ties before the “Black Mamba” did his thing to close it out. Metta Peace hit another trey to put the Lakers up by one. Then Bryant dunked to begin his 6 point game ending run and securing the 99-98 win.

The Lakers have now achieved the .500 mark for the season posting a 30-30 record. They are on the door step to at least gain the number 8 seed in the playoffs. Don’t sell this team short. While it is true they have struggled to “jell” with Howard and coach Mike D’Antoni’s arrivals they have been playing well of late. If they can just sneak into the postseason they could be hitting on all cylinders come April and surprise even an opponent such as the San Antonio Spurs.

Los Angeles Lakers 2011-12 Schedule

If the 2012 NBA season somehow resolves the lockout problem, it seems like the Los Angeles Lakers’ will have one of the more exciting schedules to follow this year. As Staples center continues to be one of the most exciting venues in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and company will be ready to take on any team that comes through their home court. They will try and redeem themselves after the second round sweep that the Dallas Mavericks handed them last year. So as the team gets ready for the 2012 season, here are a few games that you simply cannot miss.

December 25 vs Chicago Bulls @ Staples Center

As the NBA’s Christmas gift to the fans, two of the best players in the league will go head to head in a rivalry that reminds fans of  the Magic Johnson vs Michael Jordan days. As Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose take center stage in front of millions of fans around the country watching on ABC, it seems like this could be a possible 2012 NBA finals match-up.

January 6 vs Golden State Warriors @ Staples Center

With one of the more exciting California rivalries, the Warriors seem to always give them a run for their money every year. These two teams will always put on a good show and though the Warriors are not one of the top teams in the league, players like Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis definitely make them a threat.

January 16 vs Dallas Mavericks @ Staples Center

As arguably one of the most anticipated games of the year, the Dallas Mavericks come to town to relive last years second round playoff sweep. The two top teams in the West will battle it out and most analysts are looking at these two teams to meet again in the playoffs next year. If the Laker forwards are able to contain Dirk Nowitzi, this might be one of the closest games of the year.

February 3 vs Orlando Magic @ Staples Center

When Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic visit the LA, it will be one of the more intense games of the season. As one of the best teams in the East, the Magic definitely like to test their talents against the best in the West to help them get ready for the Finals if they do make it. Expect this game to be very aggressive with a playoff atmosphere. The game will be featured on ESPN and fans from all over the country will be able to watch this match-up.

March 4 vs Miami Heat @ Staples Center

This 12:30pm “All Star Game” will be featured on ABC and this is quite possibly the only game that might be a “must watch” this year. The game features two of the decade’s best players in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and these two teams are definitely the favorites for their respective conferences.

March 11 vs Boston Celtics @ Staples Center

As the most exciting rivalry in the NBA, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers definitely have a history that cannot be seen anywhere else in sports. With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Celtics continue to be one of the better teams in the East and this too can be a possible match-up in the 2012 NBA finals. Make sure you buy your Lakers tickets early for this match-up because it sure to sell out quick.

This season will be very thrilling and it seems like there really is no game that you should miss because the league’s best player will be in attendance during every game. Whether you’re a Laker fan or not, you definitely have to admit that they are a fun team to watch.