It’s just this simple. The Lakers have the talent to compete with any hoops team on the planet. Problem is they don’t have the execution necessary to beat any hoops team on the planet. The Miami Heat reminded the world of that by beating the Lake Show in Staples 99-90.
There are no moral victories in the NBA. There certainly isn’t enough time left in the season for the Lakers to build off of supposed quality losses.
So even though this one was tightly contested throughout in the end it was Miami that made all the plays necessary to win.
The duel down the stretch between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James is what the national audience wanted. They got it as both made big shots and big plays. But it was James that made more and did his damage much more efficiently.
Both All-Stars put up 25 shots difference was James did work to the tune of a game-high 39 while Bryant put 22 at the end of the box score.
Kobe was in one of those do-it-on-my-own kinda moods which is partly why fellow All-Star Dwight Howard only got up 7 shots. Coming into the contest D12 was looking like his former dominant self. Tonight that disappeared as he was largely invisible despite grabbing 16 boards.
But let’s not act like Bryant’s shot selection was the reason for this loss. More sloppy play as usual derailed any real hopes of victory. Miami raced out to on an early lead scoring all four of their first field goals on dunks that came courtesy of turnovers.
On the night the Lakers gave it up 20 times compared to only 6 turnovers for the Heat. That’s a pretty common theme for these Lakers so too is a leaky defense.
A lot of the Heat buckets came right at the rim. D-Wade was the only other member of the defending champs’ roster that cracked double figures as he went for 27 with a lot of his damage being done in the paint.
Mike D’Antoni’s team gets credit for battling back each time tonight. But that doesn’t earn a win, not when you can’t execute down the stretch. Steve Nash had trouble creating looks for his team when they needed his artistry most. Pau Gasol came back but didn’t start and was largely buried on the bench in key moments.
Really, it’s just more of the same no matter who the opponent is and no matter the effort the Lakers give. At this point all of the flaws are so built into the team’s character that it’s pretty much part of the game plan. We shouldn’t expect much else so we shouldn’t expect any postseason hoops for this team either. Time to face the facts.