However, two nights ago the Lakers nearly lost to the Clippers after blowing a big lead. The only thing better for tonight would have been if they'd lost to the Clippers. Then they would have been very focused and vengeful.
As it is they will still likely blowout the Kings. The question is why was the spread so low?
I think it was because of their near defeat to the Clippers. But remember the lag factor. By the time everyone has profiled the Lakers as losing focus, they have switched gears and become focused and wary. By the time everyone thinks they are focused and playing hard, they will be slipping back into mediocre habits. And so the pendulum swings, back and forth, back and forth.
The important lesson is that one needs to anticipate. A close loss to a bad team will spur greater effort the next time a bad team is played. A dominant win over a bad team will encourage less effort and focus the next time it is played. There is the back and forth between expectations and effort. Strong effort yields results and overkill which encourages less effort. Rarely do players play hard for no reason. A series of dominant wins will usually provoke less effort from the top team, steadily dropping until a bad loss wakes them up and spurs greater effort.