Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
If you want a snapshot of what the 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers look like then tonight’s 107-105 meltdown in Houston tells you all you need to know.
The Lake Show controlled this game right up until the most important part of the contest – the end.
Doesn’t matter who the head coach is for the Purple and Gold. This team can’t win on the road, can’t finish games and can’t get above .500.
After three quarters of inconsistent yet winning basketball the wheels completely came off.
Leading by double-digits most of the way the Lakers went into the 4th having given back some of their momentum. But that shouldn’t have mattered when Kobe Bryant was being aggressive and James Harden was doing absolutely nothing.
KB24 scored 21 of his game-high 39 in the first half whereas Harden missed 9 of his first 10 and couldn’t hit water if he jumped into the Pacific.
Still there were plenty of warning signs that a meltdown was imminent.
For one…that’s what this team does best. Secondly the Lakers led by as much as 16 yet could have been much further in front. The Lakers committed 18 more sloppy turnovers along with allowing the Rockets to grab 21 offensive rebounds.
Before you knew it the tide had turned. Outscoring the Lakers 34-22 in the fourth pushed the Rockets to their first lead of the game when it mattered most. Houston also went to the Dwight Howard well as the Hack-A-Howard again exposed a glaring weakness Mike D’Antoni really needs to deal with.
Now D’Antoni can’t be blamed for all of the Lakers’ shortcomings. Plenty of them were there before he arrived like the Lakers’ love of standing around and watching Kobe when the game is on the line. However the D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy is stretching the team thin in areas that should be a strength.
Rebounding is a part of playing defense. Since D’Antoni arrived, as promised, the Lakers’ defense has been dismal. Not hitting the boards tonight was costly though the absence of Pau Gasol didn’t help.
But never mind all the nit picking of what is or isn’t working. This team just isn’t giving a champions’ effort. Not finishing off opponents is clear sign of insecurity. There are trust issues all over the place and the clock is ticking louder with each lackluster loss. It’s no longer a slow start one quarter of a way into the season. The time to start considering the panic button is fast approaching and by the end of this road trip the time could be here.