Under normal circumstances we’d say that there is plenty of time for the Lakers to get on track this season. But this isn’t a normal season. This is shorter and more intense schedule so every game has a feeling of urgency.
We’ve become accustomed to thinking the Lakers’ early season struggles would be the result of a championship hangover. Instead the 2011-12 edition of the Lake Show is still trying to shake off being knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual champs. No title last season and with the way its looking no chance of that changing this season.
After tonight’s 100-91 loss in Sacramento it is clear that a few patterns are emerging in this young yet fast moving season.
Getting Andrew Bynum back will make a difference but right about now the offense is missing in action. Mike Brown is living up to his status as being offensively challenged. This is looking like the Rudy Tomjanovich take on coaching Kobe Bryant. Give KB24 the rock and watch the magic happen.
Bryant dropped 29 in the bucket on a frustrating night when he couldn’t get calls from the refs. No excuses though, Kobe isn’t making any with that wrist injury of his.
Beyond Kobe only Pau Gasol and a surprising Metta World Peace were the only other Lakers in double figures tonight. Coach Brown’s move to make Metta a sixth man worked as imagined tonight. He abused smaller guys in the post while making a few jumpers. But those were the only positives on offense.
Another terrible trend for the Mike Brown Lakers is the heavy dependence on outside shooting. That should change with Bynum back but about all you need to know is the Lakers were 1 of 16 from the arc. That will never get the job done.
Allowing opposing backcourts to get any shot they want all night long won’t work either.
Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans killed the Lake Show. The two young guards combined for 47 points on 15 of 28 shooting. Let that sink in for a second and tell me how many NBA teams lose when their backcourt is playing like that?
Coach Brown’s defensive genius isn’t showing its head yet either.
Perhaps the most disturbing two game trend of this young season are the failures late. Unlike the Christmas collapse the Lakers were playing from behind tonight. Trailing by as many as 15 the Lakers went on a nice run to cut the lead to two in the fourth.
Then the wheels came off…again.
In one stretch the Kings got four consecutive possessions with two coming off of missed free throws. That just boils down to hustle…and muscle…as in DeMarcus Cousins who was manhandling the Laker bigs when he was on the court.
So, just to recap, the Lakers aren’t playing much offense or defense, they have melted down twice late in two games and they’re being out hustled. Yes, Bynum is very important but he’s not going to correct all these issues.
Obviously it will take time for adjust to the changes on the team and just to work off the rust. This is a different season so expectations will have to be adjusted. However some disturbing trends are emerging. Some we knew already yet are still none the less painful when an athletic team like Sacramento runs circles around the Lakers. Other issues were unexpected like the complete inability of a veteran team to close contests.
Normally we’d say that this was just the second of a back-to-back so adjustments will be made in practice. Again, since this is not a normal season we can’t even say that. For the Lakers it is right back to L.A. and right back to work with Utah coming to town.
We already knew this was going to be a different kind of season. We just didn’t expect to see a completely different Laker team than the one we’ve become accustomed to these last three years.