Everyone's fretting about a six-game road trip that starts Saturday evening in Orlando.
I'm starting to see it as an opportunity.
Here's the schedule:
SUN @ Miami Heat
TUE @ Philadelphia 76ers
WED @ New York Knicks
FRI @ Boston Celtics
SUN @ Toronto Raptors
Not exactly a murderer's row.
The toughest game will obviously be Sunday in Miami. Two main reasons: Miami is a pretty good team, and it's the second game of a back-to-back.
Otherwise, it sets up well. The only thing I'd switch is I'd move Philly up sooner, because they're in a free fall right now. Hopefully, they'll still be down and out come Tuesday.
The Toronto game could be a toss-up. It's the last game of the trip, so the troops are bound to be tired. Also, the tip is at 1 p.m. eastern. If I'm Rick Adelman, I find a way to barricade Mike Bibby in his hotel room Saturday afternoon.
New York is the fourth game in five nights, but the Knicks aren't going to run you off the floor. And the Kings have to have vengeance on their mind.
Beating Orlando Saturday is huge for the success of this trip - a much bigger game than it looks like on paper. You don't have to blow them out, but you want to keep the current momentum going into Miami and Philly while allowing guys like Brad and Mike to stay around 35 minutes.
Miami should beat the Kings, but nothing is guaranteed in the NBA. The Kings should be favored in the remaining four games (maybe not in Philly) and should win three of those.
A 6-0 road trip would be marvelous - that'd put the team two games over .500 and probably in the 7th playoff spot going into February with a whole lot of momentum.
A 5-1 trip would be great, and that's the realistic expectation fans should have. Sacramento would be .500 if that shook down.
4-2 is a good trip - you're still under .500, but you're closer to the playoffs and you've still got some momentum.
Anything less and you've wasted a great homestand.
I predict 5-1, with the loss coming at MIA. What do you guys think?