CHICAGO — The Lakers’ start their first extended trip of the season tonight against the Chicago Bulls. (Wednesday’s victory over the Clippers doesn’t count as part of the trip since it sounded like there were more Lakers fans than Clippers fans even though the Clippers were designated the home team). There are several questions facing the Lakers. Among them:
Will they take these six games seriously? As of today, only the Bulls have a winning record. The rest (New Jersey, Washington, Indiana, Philadelphia and Toronto) are at .500 or below. The Lakers don’t often get excited to play poor teams, and they’re facing some seriously weak ones on this trip, especially after tonight’s game against the Bulls.
Will 7-foot center Andrew Bynum make an impact when he makes his debut Tuesday against Washington. The Lakers went 16-6 through their first 22 games while Bynum rehabbed from offseason right knee surgery. They’ve got two more games to play before he makes his return to the active roster. Can he help them right away?
Will they get a spark from their visit Monday with President Obama at the Boys and Girls Club in Washington? Last season, the Lakers won nine of their next 11 games after visiting Obama at the White House. This time, the visit isn’t as formal.
Will they find more consistency on the road than they’ve displayed so far? In some cities a 16-6 start to the season would be grounds for a celebration. Not so with the Lakers, who are trying for their second three-peat in the 2000s. Expectations are high, but so far it doesn’t appear if the Lakers have come close to meeting them.