Los Angeles Lakers: Honeymoon Period May Soon Be Over

The Los Angeles Lakers have taken opposition NBA teams by surprise so far but heading into a tough stretch of games, the honeymoon may be over.

The young core of the Los Angeles Lakers has surprised everyone on its way to a 7-5 record through 12 games. With offense and defensive ratings in the NBA’s top half, excitement and expectations have already begun to build.

In a season where winning games isn’t as important as building chemistry, improving as players and buying into coach Luke Walton, being better than .500, even through 12 games, is unexpected.

Despite the hot start, the extended honeymoon may soon be over with the NBA schedule makers having locked in a character-building six games to round out November and an equally challenging schedule through to mid-December.

Given the age and inexperience of this Lakers core, it’s unlikely this Lakers team gets out of November with a .500 record.

To play five of the best teams in the NBA inside two weeks is tough for any squad let alone one still learning how to maintain excellence across a minimum of 82 games.

The Lakers are currently preparing to face the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, with a home-and-home with the Golden State Warriors in the middle of all that.

Even with five of the six games at Staples Center, it’s difficult for a young team to sustain the level they’re currently playing at across six games against a high-quality opposition.

As seen in the recent road trip with good wins over the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, switching off can result in a rout similar to what we saw against the Minnesota Timberwolves (125-99).

Unfortunately, there’s more than a good chance the Lakers switch off once or twice in the next fortnight.

This two-week period would have been circled the day the schedule was announced and while their lead-up to this homestand has been promising, there’s little chance it’s enough to topple these top-tier teams.

The Bulls and Thunder are the two must-win games if the Lakers want to enter December better than .500. With a veteran presence and preseason playoff aspirations at the forefront for these franchises, victories over the pair won’t come easy.

Aside from the next six games being one of the tougher periods of the season, the Lakers play 18 games in the next 30 days. For a young team, five back-to-backs and no consecutive days off is not only character building but also season-defining in terms of 2016-17.

Morale is running high right now but a tough time heading into Christmas could derail what is currently a promising season. As excitement builds among fans, it’s important the players remain focused on the season they’re only one-eighth of the way through.

The fans have fallen in love with this group but that love will be tested over the next month.

Through 12 of 82 games, the thought of playoff basketball is starting to creep into the minds of the Laker faithful. As nothing more than a dream before the start of the season, the likelihood of that dream becoming reality will be evident in 30 days.

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