The last time the Washington Wizards beat the L.A. Lakers it took overtime and 60-points from Gilbert Arenas. Tonight it only took the Wizards four quarters and 3 points from John Wall to win.
It’s not that the Lakers lost 106-101 tonight in the Nation’s capital to one of the worst hoops teams on the planet. This is the NBA where anyone can get got on any given night.
It’s the fact that the Lakers held a 21-point lead in the third quarter only to endure a meltdown worse than Miss South Carolina trying to discuss the U.S. American educational system.
It was that bad and it is the loss that will define this season.
Forget the records for a second. Forget the fact that the Wizards are a bigger mess than the Lakers’ front office.
Let’s just look at this loss from a pure hoops standpoint.
Between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum the Lakers should own the paint. After all, the Lakers are the best rebounding team in the league. Don’t tell that to Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee though. McGee and Booker killed it on the boards combining for 29 rebounds and 30 points. Compare that to Drew’s complete absence (6 rebounds in 32 minutes) and you’ve got yourself a recipe for lackluster basketball.
Gasol gets a pass as he at least played with plenty of passion and aggression. When Gasol actually got his hands on the rock he looked like the Pau of old. The Spaniard went off for 19 and 15 with 3 blocks and did his damage taking only 11 shots.
So…with Gasol going like that and the Lakers seeing their lead dwindle faster than blow in Charlie Sheen’s sight, you might think they’d ride the hot hand. You’d be wrong in that logical line of thinking.
Kobe Bryant must have been drinking from the tap at the team hotel in DC cause whatever it is that infects the Wizards he got. The Masked Mamba couldn’t find a shot he didn’t like. 31 attempts to only 9 makes masks another 30-point performance. For the most part Bryant was awful.
I realize Mike Brown doesn’t have the clout of Phil Jackson but he needs to get with Kobe ASAP. This makes two nights in a row KB24 has shot with no conscience and been allowed to continue to do so despite other players clearly being better offensive options. It is also no coincidence the Lakers have blown big leads in the two wretched road losses while watching their offense evaporate.
The true trademark of Coach Brown’s team is supposed to be defense. That was not even close to being the case tonight. Six Wizards went off for double figures. Marry that with L.A. offense producing only 37 second half points and allowing Washington to grab 17 offensive rebounds and you’ve got yourself a loss that should put this team at their lowest point of the season.
Making matters even worse is that once the Wizards took the lead they continued to take awful shots. Yet the Lakers could not capitalize. Once the Wizards got the lead they got more active. Yet the Lakers couldn’t even be bothered to try and get back in transition.
Coach Brown is in a tough spot. He’s not a very vocal guy yet is dealing with a veteran team that desperately needs direction. There is no excuse for this loss. You can’t argue that the home crowd had anything to do with this one. The biggest cheer there was in first half came courtesy of a sick crossover by Kobe. It wasn’t until late that the home crowd gave their team a lift.
Truth be told you could see this coming. At one point in the third, Bynum and Kobe were joking with each other after Drew abused McGee on back to back possessions. That kind of mentality is never going to win a title. Hard to believe this team was on top of the NBA just two years ago.
Looking back at it I’d have to agree with Magic Johnson. It is definitely time to blow this roster up. Forget trying to improve the team. There is no transaction out there that will help these Lakers out this year. Right about now this is who they are. From their signature win against Miami to a season-defining loss in Washington, these are your 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers.