You can set your watch to it. Phil Jackson’s Scrooge-like approach to playing on the Holiday all but assured we’d get another uninspired effort from the Los Angeles Lakers. So as not to disappoint their coach, the Lake Show went out and laid another egg against a LeBron James-led team as they went meekly into the Christmas night losing 96-80 to the Miami Heat.
Once the most potent offense in all of basketball, the Lakers have scored just 159 points in their last two games. The most ominous sign of all was that Lamar Odom was the only Laker who showed up with any intensity. Yes, you know you’ve got problems when the often lackadaisical Lamar is lone Laker fired up for the occasion.
Another lackluster showing was in store as they never got into an offensive rhythm while both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol failed to assert themselves. Next was the defense breaking down like a Pinto driving cross-country. Before you knew it they were down big and King James had a triple-double.
Game. Set. Match. See you next Christmas.
To make matters even worse, the schedule now goes into overdrive as the Lakers will be up against much better competition than they’ve faced thus far. On Tuesday they touchdown in San Antonio where the Spurs await. How do you think that game is going to go?
There is no doubt the Lakers lack championship focus. After getting into a groove on the road, they returned to Los Angeles with a laidback attitude. That approach doomed them yet again on Christmas Day. Thankfully, there were no promotional items for the Staples crowd to toss onto the court.
Come to think of it. If this is going to continue to be a Christmas tradition then I think it’s time the folks at AEG issues free tickets. Asking fans to take time out of their holiday and money out of their pockets just to see efforts like this is plain cruel.
Respect due to Miami. Erik Spoelstra had his team ready to play and they executed to perfection while playing stifling defense. Still, there isn’t a team in the league that can run with the Lakers when they play inspired hoops. The problem has been getting that type of effort out of this squad on a nightly basis.
Enough with the excuses. PJ knows what his team needs to do. The team itself knows what needs to be done. Nothing affects these Lakers though and losing like this in the national spotlight didn’t matter last year either. Still, you’d like to see some sense of urgency set in before it’s too late.