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LAKERS FYI

Lakers haven't won back-to-back games yet

It has never happened over a whole season before, but Monday's loss to the Suns was one of the last (and best) chances L.A. will have.

March 19, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan

Despite all the Lakers' imponderables in a season full of them, another floated to the surface and bobbed with the uncertain current after another ridiculous loss.

The Lakers have never gone an entire season without winning games on consecutive days. It might happen now.

Even the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers, the worst team in franchise history, managed to win a mid-February game in Detroit and then against Philadelphia a day later, a glorious triumph in an otherwise dour 19-53 campaign.

These Lakers, though, have had 14 sets of back-to-back games. They haven't swept any of them. They have only two more chances, starting next week in Minnesota and Milwaukee. Next month, they'll play at home against New Orleans and then at Portland the next night.

Their latest back-to-back calamity came when Steve Nash lost again in the city where he played so many years, with the Lakers kneeling at the foot of the strong, mighty Phoenix Suns.

Or more realistically, the Suns that were tied for last in the Western Conference until one of their veterans outscored and outrebounded the Lakers all by himself in the fourth quarter.

"We're disappointed. We wanted to win for Steve," Dwight Howard said after Monday night's 99-76 failure, which came a little more than 24 hours after a pleasant victory against Sacramento.

Put another minus in the back-to-back column.

Sad note for the Lakers (36-33): They're barely eighth in the Western Conference partly because they can't beat so many of those allegedly bad teams.

Fatigue played a part in the loss at Phoenix, the Lakers coming undone in their ninth game in 14 days. Player attrition also hurt, the Lakers going without Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol while Coach Mike D'Antoni doggedly stuck with a seven-man rotation until emptying the bench with 2:48 to play.

But Nash was more irritated by other things.

"The games that kill you are the games where you're at home, you have a night off the night before and you lose to.… We've probably lost to five or six sub-.500 teams at home," he said.

The Lakers this season faltered only three times according to Nash's criteria: opening night against Dallas, early December against Orlando and New Year's Day against Philadelphia.

There are plenty of bad road losses to supplement Nash's theory.

On Monday, the Lakers basically lost to Suns forward Luis Scola, who had 14 points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter, literally out-producing an entire team (10 points, seven rebounds) over 12 minutes.

The Suns, of course, are 2-0 at home against only one team this season. It's easy to guess which one.

Bryant and Gasol might be back Friday when the Lakers play Washington at Staples Center. Bryant is day to day because of a sprained left ankle and Gasol is close to recovering from a tear in the bottom of his right foot.

The Wizards (23-43) are another team that loses often.

The Lakers will have plenty of time to rest. They actually need to win this time. Nash, among others, is getting tired of this stuff.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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