Lakers Conclude Trip in Cleveland

The Lakers coaches know that their team’s final of seven consecutive road games, against the Cleveland Cavaliers, is likey to be far trickier than it appears on paper.

In fact, the first words of the team’s scouting report, which you can read in entirety over at Lakers Courtside Connection, are: “This is a dangerous game.”

Why, you wonder, should a team that has only nine wins on the season and two since December be such a threat?

1) The Lakers beat the Cavs 112-57 on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles, an embarrassment that will surely have Cleveland riled up even more so than they’d be to beat the twice defending champs.
2) Mo Williams has returned to the line up after playing in only 35 of Cleveland’s 55 games, giving the Cavs a legitimate threat in the backcourt.
3) JJ Hickson has emerged into a low post threat after struggling for much of the season, averaging 19.9 points and 11.1 rebounds in February after just 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in December.
4) Antawn Jamison, averaging 22 points per game in February to lead the Cavs, is the kind of stretch four that can annoy Pau Gasol by making him guard out to the three-point line.

The Lakers, naturally, still own dominant matchup advantages at most positions against Cleveland, but their fate in Wednesday’s contest will likely come down to whether or not they’re able to match the energy of the Cavs.