The Lakers are only two games into their six game road trip and Mike Brown is already going to the desperation card. During a lackluster second half Coach Brown watched as his team took a halftime lead and turned it into a third quarter deficit.
With his team showing little fight despite the contest being close, Brown blew his lid after Pau Gasol was mugged in the open court. Matt Barnes actually had to step in and play the role of peacekeeper as his head coach went after an official. After seeing enough of the no-calls, Brown got heated and was subsequently sent to the showers.
If that was a tactic meant to ignite the team then it failed miserably. Utah answered back with a run that put this game to sleep. Another offensive power outage offered the Jazz a 96-87 win going away in the second half.
Kobe, Pau and Bynum were once again L.A.’s only offense. All three eclipsed the 20-point total with Bryant taking game honors at 26. However most of those points from the big three came in the first half.
In the second half no man in a purple jersey could find the bucket. 38 second half points on a night when the Lake Show shot 38%. That is a guaranteed L no matter the opponent.
While the Lakers struggle to find a more balanced scoring attach, teams like the Jazz have 5 players in double figures. Naturally the Utah bench out played the Lakers unit but that will happen when you have a sparkplug like Earl Watson subbing in.
Watson, a former Bruin, ignited Utah with hustle plays, sick dimes and a couple of daggers from distance. Don’t let his 8 points and 11 dimes fool you, Watson was the player of the game.
Pau would have had that honor had his squad won. The Spaniard played his best game of the year with a nice line of 24 and 16. Those 16 boards come on the heels of a 17 rebound effort in Denver. Perhaps Pau is finally finding his place in the offense.
What the Lakers need is for someone, anyone, other than Kobe, Pau or Drew to step up.
Andrew Goudelock looked more like the rookie he is tonight. After some impressive outings the College of Charleston alum was flat and made some mental mistakes.
When it came to mental mistakes the Lakers made plenty on defense tonight. The Jazz got lots of cheap buckets, second and third opportunities and open looks thanks to a lackluster Laker effort.
The easy excuse is the travel combined with the back-to-back demands of the schedule. The Lakers definitely looked tired in the second half. Mike Brown’s fiery outburst didn’t fuel anything but the Salt Lake crowd. The Jazz fed off that energy and the Lakers folded.
End of story.
Better efforts must be made in order for this trip not to get away from the Lakers. The immediate concern could be a suspension for Brown. The growing concern is the lack of production from the bench and the continued offensive struggles. Something has got to change. Brown might not have been trying to get his team going but at this point anything is worth trying. Short of a blockbuster trade occurring we’re looking at a team that will be bounced in the first round of the playoffs. But like Brown’s tactic perhaps it is too early to go there.