Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
If you are what your record says you are then the Los Angeles Lakers are a sub .500 non-playoff contender. That might not be where this team ultimately ends up but that’s where they are and that’s exactly what they looked like during tonight’s hideous 79-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
There really is no explanation for a team as talented as the Lakers to have games like this. Everything about this game felt like a preseason walkthrough. Somebody had better tell the Lake Show that the curtain went up almost a month ago.
Everything a team could do to shoot itself in the foot the Lakers did with expert execution tonight.
21 turnovers, 20 missed free throws, 21% from three and 32% overall from the field will always spell doom.
The only thing that kept the Lakers in this contest was the brilliance of an ailing Kobe Bryant and the putrid output of Indiana’s offense.
KB24 was questionable with flu-like symptoms but all that meant was the Pacers were in trouble. Kobe scored 40 of L.A.’s 77 points good for the 114th 40-point performance of his career. Bryant also had a dubious triple-double with 10 boards and 10 turnovers.
But as you’d expect Kobe sank the big shot late tying this one up at 77. Of course all that did was set the stage for George Hill to steal the show.
Despite having Metta World Peace checking Hill not to mention Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol waiting in the paint, the Pacers’ point guard got into the lane and hit a tough layup over the arms of both Laker bigs. With no time left to get off a shot attempt the loss was academic for the Lakers.
There really isn’t anything to say except this is yet another head scratching effort from the Lakers. Doesn’t really matter who the coach is. Through 5 games under Mike Brown the Lakers were 1-4. Through 5 games under Mike D’Antoni these same Lakers are 2-3. Just one game better. This team did have a winning record under Bernie Bickerstaff however. Just throwing that out…
What is most disconcerting of all is the wildly inconsistent nature of this team under D’Antoni. To go from an offensive onslaught in Dallas to a compete power outage back in Staples is surreal. It’s also unacceptable for a team with title aspirations to be this out of sync when their head coach is supposed to be an offensive genius.
It’s also unacceptable to still be struggling with finding a winning formula at this point in the season. It might feel like there is time to right the ship but time is not a luxury in the competitive Western Conference. The Lakers are only making their uphill climb all the more steep and they’re only making matters worse by being their own worst enemies.