The Purple and Gold are just two wins away from a trip to the Western Conference Finals, but it doesn’t mean things have been particularly easy.
Besides the regular challenges that face every player and staff member in the Orlando bubble, the reality of being a West Coast team playing on the Eastern Time Zone often breeds a unique and persistent challenge for the Lakers: late nights.
You see, as pointed out by head coach Frank Vogel, it is usually in the wee hours of the morning night by the time players get back to their hotel.
“You just remove that element of being in the air, arriving late at night,” Vogel said, via Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report.
“But our 9 o’clock starts, it feels like we’re playing and traveling during the season,” Vogel said. “It’s because you’re getting back to the hotel very late, you’re up late.”
“I watch film until I fall asleep, which is typically not before 3,” Vogel said. “But typically not after 5. I’d say before 3 and 4 is when I typically go to bed after a 9 o’clock game.”
LeBron James echoed a similar point to the media, stressing how his post-game regimen usually keeps him up pretty late.
“I get right to work right after the game,” James said. “Win, lose or draw, I start my treatment already in the locker room; when I get back to the hotel, I’m going to do some more. Be up pretty late tonight.”
Admittedly, not having to worry about travel is a huge bonus for these players does makes things easier.
Unfortunately, the process of getting back into the hotel from the playing arena doesn’t seem like the easiest. With a 9:00 start time, the game usually doesn’t end until 12-12:30 in the morning. Factor in post-game activities and the commute to the hotel and it’s easy to see why it could take hours for these guys to get to bed.
For the Lakers, and other West Coast teams, in particular, this means they have to sacrifice much-needed rest on game days.
In that aspect, Bron and Vogel seem to think the burden has not gotten much lighter, even despite not having to fly.