If you want a perfect example of how this season has gone for the Lakers thus far all you had to do was watch tonight’s loss in Dallas. All the things that have defined this edition of the Lake Show was on display as the Lakers helped the Mavs to end their six game slide. This season has been a rollercoaster and this game was a bumpy, up and down ride.
In the first half the Lakers were on cruise control. Though it was not a dominant performance, the Lakers kept the Mavericks at an arm’s length during the first two quarters by controlling the boards and running the triangle. Once the lead increased to double figures you could sense what was coming next as Dallas broke out of their shooting slump to gain the lead. Yet another early lead was gone in a blink.
Still, Kobe and company put together another run to end the first half with a lead. But that lead wouldn’t last long either.
So often Phil Jackson has preached the importance of coming out of the locker room and playing with intensity. Either PJ forgot to instruct his team or they just assumed the Mavs would roll over.
Jason Kidd of all people came to life scoring 10 of his 21 in the third. In very atypical fashion, J-Kidd began draining threes and his easy looks would open the flood gates. Before you knew it the Lakers were completely lost on defense as they failed to communicate, routinely missed rotations and didn’t get back in transition.
Once Dallas opened a double digit lead the result was academic. The Lakers were unable to get any stops putting more pressure on their offense to get quick buckets. As those shots began missing earlier and earlier in the shot clock, it gave Dallas more and more possessions to seal the deal.
Perhaps assuming the Mavs would give up, the Lakers again toyed with their prey allowing the wounded to become the aggressor. Despite their deplorable play lately, Dallas is still a team that is right in the hunt with Los Angeles for playoff position. This was a chance to send an early message and that chance disappeared in the two quarters of horrendous D.
This team is still trying to prove they can compete with the NBA elite on the road. This test was failed but there is another chance coming up in Denver on Friday. It goes without saying that the defensive intensity must be rediscovered. Dallas had been struggling to score before the Lake Show came to town. Just think of what the Nuggets will do with the open looks the Mavs got.