Jan 30 2013 10:22AM

The Lakers' Do-Or-Die Road Trip


Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

It's nice that the Los Angeles Lakers won their last three games, but it really doesn't mean that much just yet.

Yes, I know Laker fans are excited about that Sunday win over Oklahoma City (105-96) and how Kobe Bryant has turned into Magic Johnson recently (39 assists in three games) and how the whole team finally started playing some defense (allowing 292 points in three games).

But none of that really means a thing if the Lakers cannot win on the road.

After all, playoff teams are supposed to win at home.

Even the 20-25 Lakers have a decent enough home record, going 15-10 at Staples Center.

Their major problems have come on the road, where The Lake Show has bombed in arenas all over the NBA, going 5-15 away from L.A., which is the sixth-worst mark in basketball.

That is unacceptable.

Tonight, L.A. begins a seven-game road trip that determines the direction of their 2012-13 season.

The Lakers already are in a five-game hole in their quest to make it back to .500 status.

So the Lakers, who have lost seven road games in a row, need to go 4-3 on this trip just to make sure that hole doesn't get any deeper.

Wednesday Lakers at Suns

Friday Lakers at Timberwolves

Sunday Lakers at Pistons

Tuesday Lakers at Nets

Thursday, February 7 Lakers at Celtics

Friday, February 8 Lakers at Bobcats

Sunday, February 10 Lakers at Heat

Anything worse than a 4-3 road trip puts L.A. in a six-to-nine-game hole in its effort to get back to .500. At that point, when the Lakers return home February 12 with 30 games remaining, they would have less than a 50/50 shot at even making the playoffs, according to Hollinger's NBA Playoffs Odds chart.

But a winning road trip would not only be a Laker first this season--excluding one-gamers--it would keep the 20-25 Lakers close to the other three teams fighting for the last two Western Conference playoff spots--Trail Blazers (now 23-22), Rockets (25-22) and Jazz (24-21).

It's really quite simple when you look at the seven-game road trip that way.

Five, six or seven wins gets L.A. back in the playoff race.

Five, six or seven losses ends L.A.'s season before the All-Star break.

It's do-or-die time, Lakers.