The NBA released its schedule for the 2011-12 season. As usual, as far as the Lakers are concerned, there is no shortage of intriguing, high profile matchups. While I’ll be tuned in for every game against the Mavericks, Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Celtics and Spurs, another matchup caught my eye as I was spending some quality time with the schedule. As innocuous as it appears roughly a quarter of the way down the 82-game list, the Lakers’ December 9 visit to Charlotte encapsulates virtually every bugaboo of the past decade.
Beyond the baggage this team will drag into every arena in the coming season- new coach/system, advancing age, concerns about depth, an indifference to many games that is nothing short of uncanny- the Lakers have won just twice in seven tries at the Time Warner Cable Arena, one of those by a single point against the Bobs’ 2004-05 expansion squad. And while the 2011-12 Bobcats squad is hardly a contender, the roster is not short on legitimate NBA-caliber talent. Toss in the fact that the game will be the Lakers’ fifth in eight nights, with four of those on the road, and takes place the night after their lone visit of the regular season to South Beach, and that Friday in North Carolina begins to look especially treacherous.
Even when winning championships, this is exactly the type of game that Laker teams of the recent past have made a habit of losing. Given the humiliating end to last season and the clear fact that this will be a Laker team at a crossroads, this win would be hugely encouraging.
Click here to see the piece in its entirety, as it appears on Forum Blue & Gold.
Also featured in the piece:
Phillip Barnett of Forum Blue & Gold (@imsohideous on Twitter)
Daniel Buerge of LakersNation (@danielbuerge_LA)
J.D. Hastings (@j_d_hastings)
Nick Flynt of Clipper Blog (@nickflynt)
Conrad Kaczmarek of Fear the Sword (@lookitsckaz)
Eddie Maisonet from Ed The Sports Fan (@edthesportsfan)
Bryan Crawford of SLAM's From The Go (@_BryanCrawford)