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Lakers find the road to a repeat isn't easy

With Friday's defeat at Charlotte, they have now lost as many games (17) as they did all last season.

March 06, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Charlotte, N.C. – The Lakers lost only 17 games last season when they won the NBA championship.

This season, they've already lost 17 games. They've already lost as many games on the road (12) this season as they did last season when the Lakers were 29-12 away from Staples Center.

The Lakers are finding out the road to winning consecutive championships is so, so difficult.

"To win one, you put yourself in a place mentally and physically that you've never been before," Lamar Odom said. "So I guess to win it again, after every other team saying ‘we're not going to let them win,' I can just imagine that it would be tough.

"Everybody is gunning for us. Everybody wants to beat us. Everybody likes looking at the game on their calendar and saying ‘this is when I want to play my best game.' So this is part of it. It's tough to put yourself in a position to repeat. We have to understand that."

The Lakers have lost consecutive road games, losing at Miami on Thursday night and at Charlotte on Friday night.

Kobe Bryant won three consecutive championships with the Lakers from 2000-2002, and he knows what it takes to win another championship.

"It's always tough on the road to get up for your opponent," Bryant said. "So it's a lot tougher to try and muster up that energy to help take your game to another level to be competitive."

The Lakers are finding it hard to sustain the energy.

They may be playing hard, but their opponents are playing harder.

They may be hungry, but their opponents are just a little hungrier and the opponents seem to execute better, especially when the opponent has the Lakers on its home court.

"As a team, our collective synergy – that means collective energy – it's been better," Odom said. "Sometimes you go through it as a team. It's nothing we're not going to get past."

The Lakers will get that opportunity Sunday when they play the Magic in Orlando.

The Lakers beat the Magic in the NBA Finals in six games.

The Lakers hope Orlando is the place where they get their mojo back.

"They are a great basketball team," Bryant said. "It's not really a good time to go in. You can go in hot, you can go in cold. We just have to go in there, execute, play our game, play hard and see what happens."

Orlando has the third-best record in the NBA at 43-20.

The Magic is the kind of team that gets the Lakers' attention.

"Most likely you'll see us play our style of game," Odom said. "We'll go to our mismatches. We'll find out how to get in our offense. We'll make three or four or five passes. Against the top teams, if you don't see us play our best, then we've got a problem. Win, lose, or draw, we'll play like a good game."

Odom and all the Lakers know that's not the best approach.

Before they played the Heat, Miami was 30-31.

Even after losing to the Bobcats, Charlotte improved to only 29-31.

The Lakers aren't happy with the approach they have taken in recent games.

"I think everybody is angry," Andrew Bynum said. "But we're not angry at the right thing. We might be angry at each other, so that's not always the best."

Bynum said his teammates need to be angry at the "opponents."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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