Kobe Bryant and the Lakers hope their Midwest road trip goes much better… (Brian Blanco / EPA )
Reporting from Milwaukee — Oh, great. The road.
The Lakers soon meet another tough challenge, which is really any opponent outside Staples Center these days.
They are 1-6 on the road this season, the worst in the Western Conference. The Lakers average margin in road losses is 10 points, and they've defeated only Utah, in overtime, 90-87. At this point, they'd probably lose to Cal State Long Beach if they had to go to the Pyramid.
The really bad news for the Lakers is that eight of their next nine games are away from Staples Center, starting with Milwaukee on Saturday and Minnesota on Sunday.
They return for a home game against Charlotte before getting booted from Staples Center because of the Grammy Awards, their annual music trip taking them through Denver, Utah, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Toronto.
The first five weeks have revealed a lot about the Lakers. The next two will show even more.
"It's crucial because we haven't won [many] road games," Coach Mike Brown said. "It's a good test for us to go out on the road to see if we can be who we think we are, which is a very good team whether we're at home or on the road."
The Lakers (11-8) are a solid 10-2 at home, losing to Chicago by a point in the season opener without Andrew Bynum and, sure, goofing up against Indiana on Sunday. They friskily fought off the Clippers, 96-91, in a designated Lakers home game Wednesday.
Their confidence at home becomes insecurity away from it, in case their two-stop stall in Florida last week didn't prove the point.
It might help if they finally break 100 points, something the Lakers haven't done in 12 consecutive games. If they fail to do it against Milwaukee, it'll be the longest sub-100 famine for the franchise since 1953-54, the season before the shot clock was introduced.
"There's definitely some sense of urgency, going on the road and trying to be successful there too," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. "Bottom line is we have to do what it takes to get Ws on the road."
Milwaukee appears to be the easier matchup this weekend. The Bucks will be without center Andrew Bogut indefinitely after he sustained a fractured left ankle Wednesday against Houston. Bogut was averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds.
Minnesota has been playing surprisingly well this season, led by All-Star forward Kevin Love. He is averaging 25.3 points and 13.7 rebounds, and, as Clippers fans are aware, can make clutch three-pointers.
He's at peace
Metta World Peace is playing better but didn't think he should be inserted back into the starting lineup.
"No, never," he said. "[I'll] just do what I was asked. That's it."
World Peace had 11 points against Indiana and a solid game everywhere but the scoring column against the Clippers.
Matt Barnes has been starting at small forward since replacing Devin Ebanks a few games into the season.