Another road game. Another Lakers loss.
Nothing new about that.
Going down 106-98 to the Grizzlies in their crib isn’t at all surprise. On the season L.A. is now 0-4 away from Staples, the first 0-4 road record the Lake Show has debuted to since 1995. Doesn’t seem to matter who the coach is. This team is still very uncomfortable when they don’t sleep in their own beds.
This loss was a little different than those other three road L’s though.
For once the Lakers actually got bench production. In fact it was the second unit that made runs on two separate occasions to make an otherwise one-sided affair competitive. Antawn Jamison had his best game in Purple and Gold dropping 16 in 26 minutes before fouling out. Jamison also had the highlight of the night hitting a crazy shot from the corner to beat the buzzer at the end of the third. As crazy as the shot was Metta World Peace’s length of the court pass to set it up was even more unbelievable.
Chris Duhon even got in on the bench party sinking 2 of three from deep. Same for Jodie Meeks who might benefit the most from the Mike D’Antoni system.
Something else that made this loss slightly different than the previous ones was Kobe Bryant having one of those high-scoring yet inefficient nights. Just when I sing his praises I jinx it and KB24 goes out and scores 30 on 23 shots while being -22 during his 37 minutes on the court. Two of those 30 did come in emphatic fashion at the end of the first half when Kobe crossed up Rudy Gay and threw one down on Zac Randolph.
However late in the game when there was a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat the Lakers feel back into the stand around and watch Kobe force shots system. That’s something else that clearly will never change regardless of the coach.
Something that is becoming too common is a complete lack of production from the Laker bigs.
D’Antoni can’t allow Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to fail to crack double figures for two games running EVER again. This could not/should not ever happen.
Howard and Gasol combined for 13 and 8, taking only 15 shots between the two of them.
D’Antoni needs to learn that force feeding the bigs will open up all those looks from deep he so desires. Of course there will be an adjustment period but this kind of thing shouldn’t take too long to figure out. In fact it can’t. Not with the Lakers slipping back beneath .500 almost one quarter of the way into the season.
D’Antoni also has to figure out some semblance of an idea of how to defend. Mike Conley was taking the Laker points of the dribble with ease getting layups or setting the table for guys like Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol to get open looks.
The reality is the Grizzlies starting five were just that much better than the Lakers’ tonight. When it came to the battle of the bench the Lake Show was the better team for once. But when it was strength on strength Memphis was by far and away better. Their bigs played bigger. Their guards were more aggressive and this game was theirs to lose the second they took their first lead in the first quarter. The Lakers got close but never got over the hump.
Obviously it will take time to gel. But time is not a luxury when you’re trying to win it all. Ask Mike Brown about that. One thing that there isn’t any time for is reminding D’Antoni that #s 12 and 16 need more touches in better spots on the floor. If that wasn’t part of the hurried conversation between him and Jim Buss then this whole season will be lost before February.