Lakers Begin New Year On Wrong Foot

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

I’m guessing Mike D’Antoni’s resolutions for the New Year didn’t included learning to coach defense. Last time the Lake Show saw Philadelphia the 76ers didn’t have the services of Jrue Holiday. Tonight the L.A. native and UCLA alum was in uniform and it made all the difference considering how dominant the Lakers were in the first meeting in Philadelphia.

Holiday gashed Steve Nash and the porous Lakers’ defense going off for 26 with 10 dimes in his homecoming. As a team Philly shot 48% from the field which outclassed the Lakers who only made 39% of their attempts.

Another offensive outage for Dwight Howard, some mistakes by Kobe Bryant late and an all too-easy dunk conceded to Holiday in crunch time ended this one 103-99 as the Laker began 2013 by falling below .500 again.

It’s not the start this team needed for the New Year not when they were finally showing signs of life before the end of 2012. And certainly not with the Clippers tearing up the NBA. For the record the banner-less team in Staples saw their win streak snapped at 17 tonight taking a little bit of drama out of this Friday’s installment of Battle Los Angeles.

Maybe the Lakers were caught looking forward tonight. But that is a convenient excuse for a veteran team that needs desperately to dig itself out of this hole.

Another brilliant performance by KB24 was marred by some horrendous mistakes late. Bryant once again took game honors with 36 points. He also took the drama out of this one late with a careless turnover that came on the heels of Bryant burying a clutch three.

Kobe’s shot got this one down to two points with under two minutes to play after the Lakers trailed by as many as 10. But that was as close as it would get.

Unable to stop the 6ers and unable to generate much offense in the paint the Lakers lost this game on all fronts. The frontline continues to be a black hole of production for D’Antoni. Howard and Pau Gasol combined to score just 18 points. By comparison Spencer Hawes had 13 off the bench for Philly.

Another momentum killing loss authored by Los Angeles. Nothing new about that. This team just can’t seem to get on a roll. Two steps forward and two steps back has been the theme all along. Time is really ticking now that the calendar has hit 2013. Now that Nash is healthy the excuse well is drying up. Of course without the ability to defend quicker point guards and constant breakdowns in the interior defense it doesn’t matter who is healthy and who isn’t. Whatever it is this team is waiting for likely won’t arrive until it’s too late. The season is slipping and the time to dial up the intensity has already past.