After forward Wesley Johnson and the Lakers battled Jason Thompson and… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni and assistant coach Kurt Rambis recently had a conversation that went something like this.
Rambis: "Hey Mike.
D'Antoni: "Hey Kurt."
Rambis: "Want to hear something bad?"
Rambis: "I'm telling you anyway. We have one of the hardest remaining schedules in the NBA."
D'Antoni: Pause. (Unintelligible.)
As if the Lakers needed more bad news, it's coming fast and furious.
Their game Friday against Sacramento was one of their last "easy" ones, or at least matchups that look favorable on paper. Nineteen of their final 23 will be against the clearly superior Western Conference and there will be six back-to-back situations, one of many bleak areas for the Lakers (5-8 in the first night, 4-9 in the second night).
They still have three games against San Antonio, two against Oklahoma City, two against the Clippers and two against Portland. The combined record of those teams before Saturday was 166-69. The Lakers are 20-39.
Fans who want the Lakers to keep losing don't have to worry. Their draft position will be just fine.
Their worst week has yet to come in one of the most dreadful seasons in Lakers history.
The Lakers play Oklahoma City two times in a row and then San Antonio twice in a row in an 11-day stretch beginning March 9, though there are a few days of rest between the games against the Thunder and those against the Spurs. So there's that.
The Lakers won an entertaining one Friday against Sacramento, 126-122, though the Kings were without their best player, DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended because he'd punched an opponent.
And their season-long weakness was still there.
"We're not very good defensively," D'Antoni said. "We have a hard time guarding the rim, we have a hard time being tough sometimes. We're missing a little bit of that."
Blake vs. Farmar
The Lakers lost some toughness when they sent Steve Blake to Golden State.
Jordan Farmar showed something, though, making eight three-pointers in 10 attempts Friday while still on a minutes restriction because of recurring hamstring problems.
He pushed through his recommended 25-minute cap, scoring 30 points in 29 minutes against Sacramento.
"Farmar, he's smart and plays well," D'Antoni said.
How does he compare to Blake?
"Blake, that's a different category. That guy's crazy," D'Antoni said. "Steve Blake's in a category [where] I'm not going in there without him."