The team faces off against just three sub-.500 articles.
Your 8-12 Los Angeles Lakers’ intense December slate is not for the faint of heart.
This month, L.A. will face off against several of the best teams in the NBA, plus some other, very competitive clubs that look to be angling for postseason berths. Let’s take a gander:
December 2nd against the 15-5 Milwaukee Bucks (away)December 4th (away) and December 18th (home) against the 11-11 Washington WizardsDecember 6th against the 14-8 Cleveland Cavaliers (away)December 7th against the 11-10 Toronto Raptors (away)December 9th against the 12-10 Philadelphia 76ers (away)December 11th against the 6-18 Detroit Pistons (away), who for now are missing their best player, the indefinitely-sidelined Cade CunninghamDecember 13th against the 18-4 Boston Celtics (home)December 16th against the 14-7 Denver Nuggets (home)December 19th against the 15-6 Phoenix Suns (away)December 21st against the 11-9 Sacramento Kings (away)December 23rd against the 6-15 Charlotte Hornets (home)December 25th against the 10-11 Dallas Mavericks (away)December 27th against the 5-17 Orlando Magic (away)December 28th against the 10-12 Miami Heat (away)December 30th against the 12-10 Atlanta Hawks (away)
Outside of the contests against blatant tankers like Detroit, Orlando, and Charlotte, L.A. could be hard-pressed to a lot of its other December games. To recap, L.A. will be facing off 13 times against teams with better records, including 11 appearances against clubs with records at or better than .500.
12 of the team’s 16 December bouts will be on the road, where Los Angeles hasn’t had much luck to this point in 2022-23. The Lakers have gone 2-5 on the road so far, and both those victories came last month against the 6-16 San Antonio Spurs.
Can the Lakers, who seem to have found some fairly effective lineups around stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, stay afloat this month?
On The Ringer’s Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons spoke fleetingly about the Lakers’ intense December, and suggested a drastic step that the club could consider now, given the recent output of the player in question.
“Okay, dead man walking: the Los Angeles Lakers. They’re 7-12 [this was recorded prior to their win over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday], they lost a game [Monday to the Indiana Pacers] because LeBron fell asleep and forgot to guard some rookie from Gonzaga who hit a three at the buzzer. They have an impossible December schedule coming up, and if I were them, right now I’d trade Davis. I’m [saying], ‘Davis sweepstakes, next two days, who wants him?’ and starting over.”
Simmons was pessimistic L.A. would actually be amenable to this approach. “The entire league is rooting for them to panic, put those picks on the table, and I think that’s what’s going to happen,” Simmons noted.
This writer thinks L.A. would be happy to come out of the month having gone 6-10 in its various games. Were that to happen, the club would be 14-22 on the year. Not great Bob.