Everyone with some connection to the Los Angeles Lakers always says that this franchise is about winning NBA championships, nothing else. Which probably makes it even harder to see them fail time and time again to put on a complete performance for 48 minutes, resulting in hovering just above the last place in the Western conference.
With a 17th loss in their last 20 games (104-92 to the Indiana Pacers, at home), it doesn’t seem like there’s too much stopping them from hitting rock bottom at a certain point. There are promises of players returning (not Kobe Bryant), but even Steve Blake, Jordan Farmer and maybe Steve Nash don’t seem to be good enough to stop the slide and the awful mess of a defense this team is currently going through.
Like in quite a few games during this losing run, the Lakers manage to hang close for three quarters before running out of steam at the final quarter. It has something to do with the quality of players they have; it has something to do with their defense that simply can’t get stops when it matters the most; and it has something to do with their head coach, who just isn’t up for the job of getting anything positive out of this season, cruising his way into the worst season anyone involved with the franchise can remember.
The Pacers became the Pacers. They’re a very good basketball team. I thought we played as hard as we could play, but a couple of things went their way, and they separated themselves.
The Pacers, like most teams beating the Lakers this season, weren’t really complaining about their good fortunes. Paul George had an awful 4-of-21 day from the field (14 points) and the Pacers still didn’t find it too difficult to come away with the win in the end. The non existent paint presence of a Lakers defense allowed Indiana to score 58 points in the paint, led by 19 points from David West. Roy Hibbert (11-10) had a double double, and so did Lance Stephenson with 15 points and 14 rebounds. The Pacers won the rebounding battle 63-50, including 17 offensive boards and turning the ball over only 4 times.
The Lakers’ offense, the only thing that seems to be slightly working, didn’t really find its way around the best defense in the NBA; they shot 39.4% from the field. So much for Mike D’Antoni being an offensive genius who can make something out of nothing, although missing so many players can’t be helping. On the other hand, the Lakers have been playing with the same lineup and bunch of players for some time now – the whole package simply isn’t good enough, and it seems that’s going to be the way it stays until this season ends.