Lakers Nation it’s now time to forecast the Los Angeles Lakers remaining schedule for the first half of the season without their beloved second superstar Anthony Davis. What makes matters complicated is the Lakers are missing their starting point guard as well, Dennis Schroder. He is expected to be back next game, but his status is day to day due to contact tracing in this pandemic. So for this projection I will plug in Dennis Schroder for the Lakers against the Utah Jazz.
Without further ado let’s get this show on the roll.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Washington Wizards 2/22 @ 7pm
The Los Angeles Lakers, as we saw against the Miami Heat, struggled to contain and struggled to stop them in the paint as they got outscored 52 to 38 points. That can be problematic when going up against one of the most explosive backcourts in the league in shooting guard Bradley Beal point guard Russell Westbrook. I expect the Lakers, after dropping two in a row to the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat, turn it around tonight. They will protect the paint better, force Westbrook to take jumpers, and if Beal is initiating pick and rolls to double Beal heavily.
In short, the will make the role players of the Wizards beat them. The Lakers did get some good looks from the perimeter against a Miami Heat. The Heat are a team that might have turned the corner and are playing well defensively as of late. That could spell trouble for the Washington Wizards. I’ll go ahead for today and say the Lakers win a close one 110-104 as the final score. Lakers are back in the win column.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Utah Jazz 2/24 @ 7pm
The Los Angeles Lakers will go up against the best team in the league record wise in the Utah Jazz. This will surely be a tall task for this Lakers team to get a win on the road. To make this plain and simple, even with a strong possibility of Dennis Schroder coming back into the fold, I expect the Lakers to lose this game. Schroder can help the Lakers ball movement by running plays, starting the fast break, being a reliable perimeter defender, and more importantly another ball handler/creator besides LeBron James. It just won’t be enough. The Utah Jazz are 4th in the league in 3 point shooting at 39.2%. They are also 1st in the league in taking the most 3 pointers at 42.4 attempts. Finally, they lead in making those shots from distance with 16.5 makes from 3 point range.
With the Lakers shooting woes as of late as stated not only will the Lakers likely not be able to keep up with Utah scoring. The Lakers will have problems stopping the Donovan Mitchell pick and roll with Rudy Gobert. The Lakers will miss Anthony Davis defensively and even offensively. With AD on the offensive end the Lakers can slow the game down. They could make Utah play slow tempo by giving Anthony Davis the ball to work in the post. Or AD could go at Rudy Gobert to get him and the Utah Jazz in foul trouble. Of course, that translates to some easy buckets from the paint or the free throw line.
The Utah Jazz are also the league’s best rebounding team at 37.7 boards a game. I expect this to be a loss and perhaps even a blowout. I’ll say the final score will be Utah Jazz 126-100 Lakers lose this one big.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trailblazers 2/26 @ 7pm
This particular stretch in the remaining part of the schedule will be the 50/50 games and what will determine the Los Angeles Lakers successful or disastrous ending to the first half of the season. That stretch starts against the Portland Trailblazers. Let’s keep diving. The Trailblazers even with injuries to Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture), Harry Giles III (left calf strain), C.J. McCollum (left foot midfoot fracture) and Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) have been kept afloat by their superstar Damian Lillard.
The Blazers are currently 5th in the Western Conference. That right there is no small impressive feat with the injury bug surrounding that team. Portland is a top 3 scoring team in the league averaging 115.7 points a game, is second in the league behind the Utah Jazz at most 3 pointers made in a game at 16.4 a game. Also role players such as Gary Trent Jr. are having a spectacular month of February averaging 19.3 points per game and shooting 44.8% from 3 point range is incredible.
Despite these positive signals from the Trailblazers call me naïve, I think the Lakers pull out this game. I expect them at this point of their remaining games to perhaps turn it around offensively, and defensively with Dennis Schroder back with one game under his belt. I just don’t see Portland having any answers for LeBron James, who would know coming down the stretch of these final games, it’s going to be important to finish above .500 in these last 6 games of the first half of the season. Final score I’ll go Los Angeles Lakers 120-110.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs Golden State Warriors 2/28 @ 5pm
As of recently the Golden State Warriors have dropped some games that were winnable. Honestly, they should have won on the road, which are tough games to win in the NBA, against the Orlando Magic, and Charlotte Hornets. However with Stephen Curry and his abilities to have one of those classic Steph explosion games against the Los Angeles Lakers missing Anthony Davis makes this a 50/50 game. Also sprinkle on the fact that these same Warriors have beaten the Lakers with Anthony Davis in the lineup already.
However with the Warriors lack of scoring of late outside of Stephen Curry and Kelly Oubre, who has been playing spectacular recently, this is another game I expect the Lakers to win. The Los Angeles Lakers will surely have revenge on their mind after dropping a game they should have beaten the Warriors back on Martin Luther King day. My final score prediction for this one is Lakers 111-101.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns @ 7pm 3/02
Another 50/50 game on the schedule against the Phoenix Suns led by point guard Chris Paul, shooting guard Devin Booker, and center DeAndre Ayton. This one smells, and feels like a loss for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns have a true floor general in CP3. An elite shooting guard in Devin Booker who can get you a bucket at any time and anywhere on the floor. Finally, a more than serviceable big in Deandre Ayton that can score, spread the floor a bit, and grab rebounds. The Los Angeles Lakers will miss Anthony Davis in this one to help Marc Gasol in the paint with DeAndre Ayton.
Chris Paul having the ability to create, and change the tempo of the game at any moment won’t help. With the Lakers perimeter defense being shaky as of late this is probably the wrong time to see a top 10 3 point shooting team in the league at 37.7%. I don’t expect a two game win streak that I predict against the Portland Trailblazers, and the Golden State Warriors all of a sudden to fix their perimeter defense over a two game stretch. My final score is a close one but ultimately CP3, and Devin Booker’s shooting will pull the Suns out a win at the end. Phoenix Suns 116-108
Los Angeles Lakers @ Sacramento Kings 03/03 @ 7pm
This interestingly is a back to back scenario to end the first half of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers against their pacific division rivals in the Sacramento Kings. This is a 50/50 game in my opinion because you never know how players will look ahead and realize this is the last game of the first half of the season before NBA All Star Weekend. Some are looking forward to a vacation or just traveling domestically with their time off on both sides in this game.
However to make this final prediction sweet and short as I stated earlier in this article I think LeBron James is determined to make sure the Lakers stay afloat in this 6 game stretch. LeBron wants the Lakers to stay within the top 3 of the Western Conference and thus keeping his regular season MVP hopes alive. My final score for this game will also be another close one for the Lakers. This is primarily due to the Kings perimeter players in De’Aaron Fox, and Tyrese Haliburton being a handful for this Lakers team to contain. Final score will be Lakers 112-110.
We will keep this list going after the All-Star game when the NBA releases the second half schedule.
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