(My newest from Silver Screen & Roll)
Thirty-six games is all that stands between the Los Angeles Lakers and either a merely disappointing season or one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
As our own Drew Garrison wrote yesterday, this Lakers team simply can't be trusted with your emotions; like a mercurial adolescent, there's little indication of which squad will show its face night to night, quarter to quarter, minute to minute. It's been a season of teases for the Lakers and their fans, vacillating wildly between the gutty, persistent crew that defeated the best team in the West, the one that, just days later, lost to the worst team in the West in a ridiculous 540 second meltdown.
Regardless of which way you sway with this Lakers team--having written them off or blindly hoping for a miracle stretch run--there's little doubt that by the middle of February we should all know there this team is headed in April.
The next 28 days are pivotal for not just the Lakers, but of course for their main competitors for the bottom two spots on the Western Conference playoffs bracket. The Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks remain in a five-team scrum for the "honor" of facing destruction via superhuman Oklahoma City
Avengers Thunder squad or a methodical, Batman-esque deconstruction by the San Antonio Spurs.
Just to be clear about what exactly the Lakers are facing this month, let's break down team-by-team the four weeks of February: