Reporting from Dallas — If this is how the Lakers play on the road the rest of the regular season, it's going to be difficult for them to catch Cleveland.
February is the calm before their scheduling storm sweeps them away next month, the result of having so many home games at the start of the season.
The Lakers barely won Tuesday in Memphis, needing Kobe Bryant's three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to prevail, before losing in Dallas on Wednesday, 101-96.
They have two more home games this month and then run smack into March -- 11 road games and only four home games.
The Lakers (43-15) are a game behind Cleveland (44-14) in the race for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cavaliers hold the tiebreaker after beating the Lakers twice this season.
Ever the optimist, Bryant said the Lakers could build resolve on the road, where they are 17-10 this season.
But what if all their road ventures are last-minute decisions like their two tussles this week?
"There will be some, but we'll work very hard, work diligently at building that road 'game' because we haven't had too many of them this year," he said. "We'll see if we can't get a rhythm going."
Said Pau Gasol: "We're never going to get the benefit of the doubt on the calls on the road. It happened [Tuesday] night at the end of the game when I got whacked and it didn't get called and I think [Wednesday] a couple of times the whistle could have blown but that's just the way it's going to go."
He's not bad
Bryant's game-winner in Memphis was one of five already this season in the final seconds.
"He can usually get a shot. That's the uniqueness of his game," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "There are only a few players in this game that can do that, and he's one of them."
Bryant is better with the game on the line than in the fourth quarter overall, Jackson said.
"There's been a number of studies over the years that have marked the shots and the percentages of people in the fourth quarter. Kobe's never been among the leaders in that," Jackson said. "But in last shots, he is, which is really great. We've kept that [quiet] over the years and haven't publicized it. We don't want to feed to the myth but it's still part of his signature to make big shots in games."
Then Jackson turned to a reporter and winked.
Andrew Bynum has continued to play with a bruise and ruptured bursa sac in his right hip.
He slowed down considerably in the second half of the Lakers' loss to Dallas, managing only two points and two rebounds to finish with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
How long will Bynum be affected by his injury?
"I don't know," Jackson said frankly.