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Lakers face quick and difficult trip to Florida

They play the Heat on Thursday in Miami and the Magic on Friday in Orlando. Andrew Bynum says Lakers need to get at least one victory.

January 18, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Andrew Bynum, left, and the Lakers will face a tough challenge against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic on Friday.
Andrew Bynum, left, and the Lakers will face a tough challenge against Dwight… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Miami — Of all the strange twists on the shard of a schedule this season, this might be the most jagged for the Lakers.

They're in Miami on Thursday, Orlando on Friday and then head back home, a two-day trip that will test their already futile road record.

The NBA schedule was ripped apart by the lockout and then glued back together with 66 games in a rapid-fire 121 days, leaving the Lakers with their first two-game trip in an Eastern time zone since a quick one in Detroit and New York in November 2003.

Hello, LeBron James, Hello, Dwight Howard.

"We need to get at least one" victory, Lakers center Andrew Bynum said, and it won’t be easy based on past performance.

The Lakers are 1-4 on the road, an eyesore next to their 9-1 home record. They also don't play well in Miami.

"I don't remember the last time we won there," Bynum said.

It happened once in his career, in February 2008, making the Lakers 1-6 in Miami since they drafted Bynum. Of further interest, the Lakers lost their last three regular-season games in Orlando.

Many eyes will be on Bynum this week.

He is the obvious centerpiece of a deal if the Lakers try to acquire Howard before the March 15 trade deadline. Bynum leads Western Conference centers in All-Star voting but has never been an All-Star, possibly explaining why he was deferential when asked about going up against Howard.

"The guy is definitely more proven," Bynum said. "He's had numbers for a long period of time. I always look up to him. I want to get the ball and do the things with it that he does. I learn a lot from watching him play."

So what happens Friday?

"You don't want to get embarrassed, so you have to bring your 'A' game," Bynum said.

First, the Lakers must deal with James and Chris Bosh but maybe not Dwyane Wade, who sat out the game Tuesday against San Antonio because of an assortment of injuries. He sustained a sprained right ankle Friday against Denver, adding to previous injuries of a sore left foot and strained calf this season.

The Lakers, in the last 11 days, won games in which they committed 27 turnovers (Memphis) and scored seven points in a quarter (Dallas).

They can thank their defense and Kobe Bryant.

"If he's not the best closer, which I think he is, then he’s at least a top-three closer in the league," Coach Mike Brown said. "We just need to make sure we keep it close with our defense and give ourselves a chance to win down the stretch no matter how good or bad we're playing."

Thanks, Coach?

Reserve forward Jason Kapono revealed that some Lakers jokingly refer to Brown as "All Day Every Day" because of his lengthy video sessions, practices and shoot-arounds.

The revelation came Tuesday in a question-and-answer session with a handful of players and Brown at the "Lakers All-Access" event sponsored by the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission.

Derek Fisher added that the nickname was created fairly early in training camp. "Day three," he said.

Brown smiled as he heard the players weigh in on his, uh, work ethic.

"That's really my nickname?" he said incredulously.

Brown began his NBA career as a video coordinator for Denver in 1992. His first job as a head coach was in Cleveland, where he went 272-138 in five seasons before getting fired in 2010 amid whispers of a fraying relationship with James.

Brown didn't have much to say about coaching against James for the first time since taking the Lakers' job last May.

"I haven't really thought of it," Brown said. "Obviously, it'll be good to see him but right now, I don't have any emotions."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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