The old axiom ” let somebody else beat you besides him” must be unknown in the Mike D’Antoni locker room.
Zach Randolph scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to singlehandedly beat the Lakers in what was yet another winnable game, losing 89-86, at Staples Center.He finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Marc Gasol controlled the game with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals.
We are starting to see the rag tag Lakers fall back to preseason expectations.
Memphis struggled throughout the first quarter but feasted on layups and free throws to lead after the first 24-17.
Nick Young sparked a Lakers’ resurgence with a long 3 to start the 2nd quarter. He scored 12 points in the period as he and Jodie Meeks led the way tying the game at the half 40-40.
Meeks stayed hot in the third scoring 12, ending up with 22 points thru 3 quarters. In the fourth the Lakers’ inconsistency reared its ugly head again. After running off an 8-0 run to lead 77-73 with 7:05 remaining, the team shot 2 for 11 to close out the game. The lack of a definitive crunch time go to scorer is killing them.
Pau Gasol is making 19 million dollars this season.
He continued his abysmal play scoring 10 points on 4 for 12 shooting. Gasol went scoreless in the fourth quarter. While he may be injured, after 11 games he appears a shell of his former self.
Jodie Meeks poured in 25 points and Nick Young chipped in 18. Young made poor decisions in the fourth that contributed to the Lakers’ cold spell at the end.
Mike D’Antoni has seemingly found his ideal starting lineup. The additions of Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, and Jodie Meeks have gotten the team off to better starts. Hill has finally provided a “roll” option to D’Antoni’s pick and roll offense. Steve Blake has consistently found Hill for easy scores.
Blake has played his best ball of the season since being inserted as the starting point guard. The first unit is getting more open looks around the hoop and have shown a more aggressive interior attack. He only scored 9 points tonight but provided 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover.
The Lakers lead the NBA in pace, field goal makes, attempts, and three pointers made. They are second in rebounding, 4th in blocked shots, 7th in 3point percentage and 9th in free throws made. With the roster that’s been assembled, this is outstanding.
Unfortunately the Lakers can’t shoot inside the arc. They are 30th in 2point field goal percentage and 27th in field goal percentage overall shooting a woeful .418 from the field.The team is able to get plenty of open looks but converting consistently on makeable shots is a primary cause for the team’s 7 losses.
In addition, the Lakers are sloppy with the ball (27th in turnovers), don’t create enough turnovers (21st) and put the opponent on the line too much (1st in player fouls). They must lead the league in breakaway layups allowed.
With a healthy and effective Kobe Bryant there is the makings of a good team. Their task is to stay competitive in the standings until Bryant returns. Time is beginning to become an enemy. Very quickly the front office needs to decide if it can realistically make the playoffs or play out the string and position themselves for next year’s draft.