The Los Angeles Lakers look terrible through two games this season, despite Kobe Bryant seemingly back to his old form. He’s not letting anyone help him out, including Jeremy Lin, who actually played less minutes than the awful Ronnie Price. That illogical decision by Byron Scott didn’t help his team in a 119-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Bryant scored 31 points on 11-of-25 from the field, doing it all in 28 minutes. But the Suns were happy to see Bryant shoot and attack the basket on his own. There’s nothing better for a team defending than for the opposition to do the expected, predictable thing. The Lakers, maybe on order from the head coach or simply on decision from Bryant, who has never been one to take orders from above too seriously, to try and do everything himself.
Jeremy Lin had another disappointing performance, scoring six points on 21 minutes with 2-of-5 from the field. But despite being the point guard of the team, he hardly got a chance to handle the ball as a real facilitator. It’s too much of watching Kobe Bryant waste too many seconds of a possession, whether or not he’s the one who finishes the play, turning everyone into bystanders and watchers, waiting for a crumb to fall their way.
Beyond the offensive issues of stagnation and not having too many options, which might be a problem that Scott didn’t work enough on during the offseason, the Lakers can’t stop anyone on defense, and it has nothing to do with Julius Randle being out for the season or other injuries to guys like Steve Nash and Nick Young. The Suns scored and got open shots at will, hitting 54.9% of their shots from the field, as the triple point guard threat ran wild.
Isiah Thomas led them from the bench with 23 points, while Eric Bledsoe scored 16 points and Goran Dragic added 18 points. The Morris twins started and combined to score 33 points as the entire lineup, along with Miles Plumlee, all finished scoring in double figures. It never felt hard for a single moment, as the Lakers kept doing the same thing on offense, shooting only 43% from the field and looking like a team that did nothing this offseason but watch Kobe Bryant shoot.
We can’t say Jeremy Lin played well. It hasn’t been the best of starts of him on his new team, but it’s not just about him. Lin is suddenly in a lineup he has hardly played with and worse, doesn’t seem to run in the same gear and speed he does. Add that to the ball sticking in Kobe Bryant’s hands instead of the point guard and someone who looks to make others better instead of just worrying about the points, and it’s really a bad situation to start the season in.