Four games, no wins. Kobe Bryant keeps putting on impressive numbers, but it comes at the expense of having some sort of team game, hurting someone like Jeremy Lin, who actually makes players around him better. The Los Angeles Lakers were beaten 127-104 by the Golden State Warriors, as a new problem seems to rise each time the old one gets fixed.
The biggest one of all right now seems to be stopping teams. The Lakers are allowing a league worst 118 points per game, and have lost their four games by an average of 17 points a night. It’s their first 0-4 start since 1957, when the franchise was still based in Minneapolis. They’ve never been worse than 0-3 since moving to Los Angeles. Their loss margin through the four games is also a new record since moving to Los Angeles. It’s been worse when in Minneapolis, but the last time the Lakers averaged a double digit loss through their first four games was in the 1960-1961 season.
Byron Scott sees himself as an Old-School coach, which usually means priding yourself in playing defense. But even if he has the know how, it doesn’t seem to be translating into his players’ efforts on the court. Defense is about talent, but mostly about discipline, intelligence and motivation. The Lakers are lacking in at least two of those necessities, and they’re not good enough offensively, at least not at this moment, to make up for all the points they’re easily giving up.
This was a Splash Brothers night, above everything else. Klay Thompson, getting the extension he wanted from the Warriors, led the team with 41 points, hitting an incredible 14-of-18 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He signed a $70 million extension. The way Thompson has been improving and with the salary cap about to be seriously altered, that’s not going to sound like so much money in the very near future.
Stephen Curry was the perfect partner in crime, scoring 31 points and dishing out 10 assists. The duo dominated with ease as they blew past Jeremy Lin and Bryant. Harrison Barnes remains in the lineup next to Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, which also meant a significant dominance for the Warriors down in the paint, but most of all it created opportunities for easy points: The Lakers turned the ball over 22 times, as the Warriors scored 35 on the fast break.
Bryant led the Lakers once again with 28 points. But he shot just 12-of-28 from the field, and he turned the ball over seven times. He’s averaging 24.8 points per game so far this season, and has been mostly busy explaining that he’s back to his old form when talking after games. But is he actually putting his team in a better position to win games? Not all the time. After breaking out against the Los Angeles Clippers, Jeremy Lin, maybe more important in this new jigsaw, regressed back to being almost more damaging than helpful.
Lin finished the game with only six points, all coming from the line. He turned the ball over five times and added six assists. His passes were risky at times, players don’t seem to know where he’s going to pass and he doesn’t know where they’re going to move. It’s all a big mess right now, although it mostly unraveled in the final quarter. Maybe there’s a silver lining showing from time to time, but for the most part, it’s very hard to find it.