Los Angeles sees increasing difficulty in schedule following restart

The Los Angeles Lakers will head to Orlando for the NBA restart as the top team in the Western Conference, and one of the favorites to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.Los Angeles currently holds a 5.5-game advantage over the crosstown rival Clippers for the top seed in the West, and only a total collapse over the final eight games would prevent the Purple and Gold from earning home court advantage.However, the Lakers will have to deal with a tougher schedule.John Schuhmann of NBA.com analyzed the new schedules for all 22 teams ahead of the restart. The Lakers’ scheduled opponents before the suspension of play had a .471 cumulative winning percentage.But their new opponents have a .625 cumulative winning percentage, the hardest schedule of any team in Orlando.Cumulative opponent winning percentage, old schedule (at the time the season was suspended) vs. new schedule. pic.twitter.com/46L1z1HHH7— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) June 27, 2020The Lakers hardly get any sort of a breather as they try to get back into the flow of things.Both Los Angeles teams will go head-to-head on July 30, the first night of the restart. After a matchup with the Clippers, the Lakers will then be greeted by a gritty Toronto Raptors team hungry to secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers also have to play the likes of the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.Granted, the opponent might not matter if LeBron James and Co. pick up where they left off.The Lakers went 8-2 after the All-Star break, a stretch that included wins over the Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. James was playing some of his best basketball of the season, and the team seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.Still, the new schedule is a rude “welcome back” for a Laker team that likely would have preferred to coast into the playoffs.   !function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?

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