The Los Angeles Lakers can’t beat the Atlanta Hawks twice in one season, losing 91-86 to a far superior team, as Byron Scott showed further disdain for Jeremy Lin or winning basketball games although in this case, he didn’t really stand a chance unlike other games he has lost on purpose.
This wasn’t a very good game for Jeremy Lin. It seems that a few bad ones have hurt his confidence again. But why would someone feel confident when he knows that bad plays for him cost him in minutes, while others the “regime” has more interest in advancing have what in the literary world is known as “plot armor” and need to be a whole lot worse in order to be substituted?
Lin finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 19 minutes. Yes, Scott has now reduced his presence to this. And it’s not that Jordan Clarkson or anyone else in the backcourt was having a unique performance. Clarkson scored 10 points in 31 minutes, shooting 4-of-13 from the field. Wayne Ellington shot 2-of-11 from the field. Jabari Brown. playing for the second time this season, didn’t look all that bad and scored 9 points in 22 minutes. Lin playing less than Jabari Brown?
Besides the further downgrading of Lin’s standing (although Byron Scott might change his mind about minutes on a different day), there’s nothing new to report. The Hawks didn’t struggle scoring because of some sudden change in the Lakers’ defense. Not having Kyle Korver changes a lot in how their offense operates and looks. Their ball movement depends on their opponents giving the best shooter in the league a lot of attention. Take that away, and suddenly it’s a lot more difficult to score.
The Lakers can pop another bottle of bubbly, although celebrations would be premature. They’re closer and closer to finishing with a bad enough record so they’ll be in the top 5 of teams in the draft lottery. Remember, if the Lakers’ pick falls outside of the top 5, it goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, which gives the Lakers an extra incentive to lose. Free agents might not be too willing to sign with them as long as Bryant is there along with coaching genius Byron Scott. The draft might be their only way to get better, although it involves a whole lot of luck. We saw what happened to Julius Randle on his first game.
Speaking of luck, from 2005 to 2014, five teams outside the bottom five in terms of regular season record ended up with the top pick in the draft. Which just goes to show that the process and strategy of tanking can end up without nothing to show for all the “effort” put into losing on purpose.