Jan 16, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT
From the Los Angeles Times:
“I’m not comfortable with either of the two games (Sunday) or Monday,” Jackson said Saturday at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “It’s why we had a practice today. We’re concerned. We didn’t think we played well last night, but we got away with a win anyway. There’s a natural tendency to relax after winning a couple games. There’s not the same intensity. You have to be very careful of that as a player and coach.”
Jackon’s smart to recognize that this winning streak is strained at its edges. The Lakers have played better, there can be no question about that. But there are three types of winning streaks. Winning streaks in which you demolish your opponent because you are just that much better than they are, winning streaks in which you simply find a way to win no matter the circumstances because you’re riding that fortunate wave of skill and luck, and winning streaks that defy your weaknesses due to the inferior nature of the opposition. The Lakers’ recent streak is a bit of the first and a bit of the latter.
The Lakers struggled with the Nets, who while they can be scrappy, can also be detonated pretty easily by elite teams. Yet the Lakers struggled a bit with them before putting them away. First up is a game against the suddenly competitive Clippers, who just bested Miami and are playing their best ball of the season. Blake Griffin will challenge Pau Gasol, DeAndre Jordan is a mammoth, physical beast to counter Andrew Bynum, Eric Gordon can light it up, and they have a versatile bench. The Lakers should cruise, but getting the team a bit more focused instead of treating it as same old Clippers is a wise strategy by Phil.
Oklahoma City on Monday, on a back to back for the Lakers, is an entirely different matter.
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