You might think that after playing so many extra games over the last three seasons--23 playoff games two years ago, 16 last year and 18 this year--the Lakers should be near the breaking point in terms of wear and tear.
That's 57 more games, for instance, than the Clippers have played over the same period, and, more to the point, 38 more than the New Jersey Nets.
Laker Coach Phil Jackson, whose team is trying to win its third consecutive NBA championship, said last week that the third title is the most difficult--in part because of the physical demands on the players.
"You're dealing with players that are playing 100-plus games a season," Jackson said. "That's a difficult task. It's a difficult task because the in-between periods get shorter and shorter to recuperate, come back and play."