Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points against his former team on Sunday night. (Jason DeCrow / Associated…)
Until the Lakers get Pau Gasol and Steve Nash back from injuries, they're going to struggle. Gasol may be back during this week's four-game trip although Nash may still be a stretch to return. The previous week was mostly unsuccessful, dropping the Lakers four wins behind the cumulative predictions for weeks 1-6.
Heading out on a four-game road trip, the Lakers look vulnerable.
Dec. 11 at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have struggled recently, losing five straight. Health has been a problem with Kyrie Irving (finger) and Dion Waiters (ankle) out. It's unclear if either will be available against the Lakers.
Anderson Varejao is having a tremendous year. He'll have the opportunity to go against Dwight Howard. If he can successfully slow him down, the Cavaliers may have a shot.
If there's a game to get for the Lakers, it's the first one against a depleted Cavaliers squad.
Dec. 13 at New York Knicks
The Knicks haven't lost at home yet. They're a perfect 8-0 and there's simply no reason to think that the Lakers are the team to break that streak in New York.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Coach Mike D'Antoni, who spent some frustrating years with the Knicks through their rebuilding process.
Dec. 14 at Washington Wizards
As great as the Knicks are this year, the Wizards have been just as dismal (if not worse). John Wall (knee) is out and the team just lost A.J. Price to a broken right hand.
The Lakers should be able to get a win in Washington but then that's probably what the Miami Heat thought. The Wizards shocked the Heat 105-11 on Dec. 4.
Dec. 16 at Philadelphia 76ers
So much for the first Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum meeting since the offseason trade. Bynum is still out with knee problems that has delayed his season with the Sixers.
Philadelphia (11-9) has been up and down for much of the year but they're young, aggressive and talented. Jrue Holiday is one of the league's emerging young point guards.
The Lakers have an advantage in Howard but they have that over most teams and with their 9-12 record, clearly they haven't been able to win consistently to date.