So much for all that playoff momentum the Lakers had been building since the All-Star break. Two lackluster losses in a row have raised more of those old questions.
While there is no shame in going down to the Nuggets, it was the way in which the Lakers stunk it up Sunday that was so concerning.
Now there is much shame in losing to the Utah Jazz. And just to drive the point home the Lakers lost in the most hideous fashion possible, falling 86-85 in an absolute snooze fest.
If you thought the NCAA championship game was ugly then what the Lakers and Jazz did tonight was the NBA equivalent. But don’t blame Butler alum Gordon Hayward who destroyed the Lake Show.
In a game that featured such memorable moments as an air-balled layup, a three point bank shot and a Kobe Bryant fail in the clutch; Hayward was the lone bright spot. The rookie posted a career high 22 points and was unstoppable off the dribble. Hayward caused havoc all night as he easily strolled into the paint where he was able to find open teammates or create his own shot.
For the Lakers, the only performance worth writing home about came from Andrew Bynum. All those bricks led to Bynum grabbing a healthy 23 rebounds. Drew was also a force on defense with 4 blocks and countless other altered shots. It should be noted that Bynum was the only man in purple and gold who cared to crash the boards. He accounted for nearly half of the Lakers’ 49 rebounds.
How the Jazz snapped a 17 games losing skid in Staples and an 8 game slide overall is inexplicable. Sure, they gave a solid effort but not one so dominant that the Lakers couldn’t have pulled this one out.
Despite the Jazz opening their largest lead of the evening with under two minutes to play, the Lakers were still in a position to win.
KB24 didn’t make a field goal until the third quarter and didn’t get it going until late in the fourth. Mamba scored 10 of his 20 points in the final frame, six of which came on two clutch threes. Too bad he coughed up the rock while attempting the game winner. For Bryant, this was his first loss to the Jazz in L.A. since the last days of the Forum.
Let that sink in for a minute…THE FORUM!!!
Lamar Odom called this the worst loss of the year and I can’t argue with him. Frank Hamblen said it didn’t look like the team wanted to take the court tonight and the effort put forth reflected that.
Forget about the records, this loss is much worse than the one in Cleveland. That loss helped spark the amazing run the Lakers had been on prior to Sunday. Let’s hope this loss has a similar effect.