The Los Angeles Lakers have had plenty of minor problems this season, but their issues away from the Staples Center seem like they might be the most difficult to fix. The NBA trade rumors will end once the trade deadline comes and goes, but winning road games doesn't seem to be as easy of a fix.
The Lakers have won just five of their 16 games when they aren't the home team this season, a stark contrast to their 14-2 record at home. It's difficult to pinpoint the exact problem, but answers might be found on Wednesday night as Kobe Bryant and Co. take on Dirk Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks in a showdown scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Bryant and the Lakers were solid their last time out, holding the Portland Trail Blazers to just seven points in the first quarter before cruising to victory in Los Angeles. Bryant didn't get the answers he wanted before the game, though, as general manager Mitch Kupchak went on record to say he doesn't plan to take Pau Gasol off the trading block — a decision Bryant thinks has been distracting his 7-foot center.
The Mavericks don't have quite as much drama surrounding them, as evidenced by seven wins in their last eight outings. They'll look to continue building on that momentum on Wednesday, considering it'll be their last game before the NBA takes a break for All-Star weekend.
If the Lakers are able to get past their road woes and self-made drama, they might have a chance to beat the Mavericks. It doesn't seem like they've got an easy path to victory, though.