KEY POINTS

  • The Los Angeles Lakers were the favorites to win the NBA title prior to the restart
  • The Lakers' chances to win the title could be down as they were unimpressive after their first two games inside the bubble
  • The Lakers are urged not to panic with still six seeding games left before the Playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers were runaway favorites to seize the NBA title prior to the start of the bubble tournament in Orlando. But with two games already in, the Lakers have not appeared to be the same team that dominated the Western Conference for most of the season, prompting the decline of title expectations tagged on them with just six seeding games left before the Playoffs.

The Lakers split their first two assignments of the restart: barely winning against an undermanned Clippers in their first game on Thursday before getting trounced late by the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

In fairness, both the Clippers and Raptors are top-tier teams that could definitely post a threat to the Lakers’ title hopes this year. But the expectations on the purple and gold were off the charts that a slight hiccup would instantly move the odds against them.

“Most teams would take a 1-1 split against (the Clippers and the Raptors), especially after four months off. This is especially true for the Lakers, whose magic number to lock down the first seed in the Western Conference is just one,” Jason Reed of the Lake Show Life wrote.

“The results of these games are not what really matters. As we said, the Lakers just need one more win or one more Clippers loss to lock down the first seed. That is going to undoubtedly happen.

“What matters is how the team wins or loses and how they look after this long lay-off. And through two games it is clear that the Lakers are not all the way there and that should hurt their title odds.”

LeBron James and Antony Davis are two of arguably the top five best players in the NBA today and their fans expect nothing from them but to deliver. But while the first two games failed to meet the bar, the Lakers still have the luxury of time to regain their poise and get back to their old winning ways.

“These are bad signs and they do hurt the Los Angeles Lakers’ current title odds, but they still have one thing in their favor: time. The Lakers have six more seeding games to figure things out and start hitting from the floor,” Reed continued.

“This very well could be a two-game cold streak and the Lakers are going to get six more games where the result ultimately does not matter to get right and figure out the rotations. Because of that, the Lakers are still far from panicking.”

The Lakers will test their mettle anew as they face the Utah Jazz on Monday at The Arena (WWOS).

#FreeWoj: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is among the NBA players offering social media support of suspended ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski #FreeWoj: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is among the NBA players offering social media support of suspended ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Katelyn Mulcahy