Whatever it is about the Lakers and their phobia of playing on the road this season looks like it will never be remedied. After a rousing win against Miami the Lake Show gave an embarrassing performance in Detroit.
Typical of this team. Typical of this season. One minute the Lakers are hitting all the right notes. The next second they’re singing like William Hung on a five-day bender.
Tonight’s ugly 88-85 overtime loss to the lowly Pistons illustrated everything that will ultimately define Mike Brown’s first season in Los Angeles.
L.A. opened the game with some of that fire still burning in their bellies from their battle with the Heat. In the first quarter it looked like the Lakers were going to roll over the Pistons as L.A. had a 12 point lead early. Then the second quarter rolled around and the wheels came off.
Rodney Stuckey began abusing the Laker D like it was last season and he was J.J. Barea. Stuckey was taking everyone off the dribble, attacking the hoop and shredding the Lakers as he dropped a game high 34 on only 20 shots. That is the type sick production you might have expected from the Masked Mamba. Instead it was Mamba who was snake bitten this evening.
Kobe tried out a new mask to begin the game. He came out rocking a Kato, a straight up black mask as if fully embracing the villain role on the road. A slow start from the field, combined with some issues of keeping that mask in place made Mamba switch back to the OG face plate.
That made no difference at all.
Kobe’s game was reflective of how the Lakers played tonight. His shot was awful. For whatever reason Coach Brown gladly sat back and watched as Kobe went an ugly 8 of 26 from the field scoring a highly ineffective 22 points.
Now the man that had it going was Andrew Bynum. Despite constant harassment and double teams Drew was dominant against the out-matched Pistons. Bynum bruised his way to 30 and 14 on an unreal 13 of 18.
Given the way Bynum had it going you might have thought he’d be the guy Brown would keep leaning on. You’d be wrong. Hate to make the comparison but here is where we see one of the major differences between Mike Brown and Phil Jackson. As impossible as it is to tell Kobe how to go about his business at least PJ would have tried and done so in emphatic fashion. Then for good measure Phil would have called out Kobe after the game. Not Brown who allowed Kobe to shoot his team back in and then back out of this game.
Down the stretch in a close contest it was Kobe who was forcing all the action. To his credit Bryant buried a clutch jumper that sent this one into OT during the final ticks of regulation. Then in keeping with the theme of the evening Bryant shot an inexplicable three with enough time on the clock that Metta World Peace could grab a rebound in the paint, turn and dribble to the top of circle and get off another shot.
Why Bryant forced a shot with plenty of time on the clock is as confusing as why Coach Brown allowed his team to get away from Bynum’s presence in the paint. Bryant’s quick catch-and-shoot would have been fine with .4 seconds left. Instead it came with a full 4 seconds left. Huh? What?
All night long it was a roller coaster.
One trip down World Peace strips Stuckey of the rock in the clutch and gets an easy bucket. Next time down, with the game on the line, Metta leaves Detroit’s only offensive option allowing that same Stuckey to bury a wide open jumper.
Kobe hits a monster shot to send the game into OT then shoots an unbelievably bad three with the game in the balance.
Detroit plays a hideous third quarter scoring only 9 points. The Lakers can’t capitalize and help to keep this one a close contest.
This performance is typical of this team on the road this season. There appear to be no solutions. That’s the really bad part. Even worse is that when asked after the game what the problem was Mike Brown didn’t even have an answer.
That about sums it up. It sums up all of L.A.’s continued road woes. It sums up the all the wild swings from unbeatable to unwatchable. Most of all it sums up why the Lakers have no chance of pulling out a deep playoff run. So much for the Lakers getting some road momentum. A flat start in Motown doesn’t bode well for the rest of their journeys. The next stop is in DC which, on paper, looks like a winnable contest. But with this team you can’t count on anything