Around The World (Wide Web): Effort, Energy, Defense

Ryan Cole —  December 10, 2012

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Whereas former Lakers coach Mike Brown and the rest of the basketball world would say a great defense will always give you a chance to win, Mike D’Antoni’s Lakers tried Sunday night to prove that his offense-first style can do that, too. Didn’t work.Even with an extraordinary 3-point shooting performance, the Lakers could not weather poor defense of every variety. Their early season slide continued to a 9-12 record with a 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, leaving D’Antoni to say players are taking possessions off and not hustling or communicating on defense.

From Drew Garrison, Silver Scree & Roll:  The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling. It’s easy to see this; one could point to any number of issues plaguing them on a game by game basis and conclude that they are a team destined for another early playoff exit. Turnovers are stacked up like the reporters buzzing around the locker room trying to find a tasty soundbite from a locker room facing adversity. Opponents are recovering their missed shots at alarming rates in these despicable losses; as if opposing players are being being controlled by the likes of Dennis Rodman and Moses Malone in some elaborate marionette scheme. The defense? If Mike D’Antoni could joke about not having a D in his last name prior to coaching this Lakers team he needs to go ahead and take out any remaining letters of the word defense out. Mik Atoi. Though, whether he deserves the blame or not remains in the air as the players on the floor seem to care little about solving this issue. We can go on and on as we pick at the age of the players on the roster (which happened to get older as Dwight Howard ticked another year older, now 27), the lack of players who give a damn about playing the aforementioned defense, fragility; some mentally, others physically, and consistency as solid as water. Yeah, there are problems here.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles:  The depths of despair seem to know no bottom this season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Think three coaches in the first 15 games while passing on Phil Jackson was uneasy? Think Dwight Howard giving away games with brick after brick from the free throw line was brutal? Think those poison-pill 35-plus-point quarters that the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets andOklahoma City Thunder hung on them should have taught the Lakers to stem the tide by now? Think Steve Nash’s leg and Pau Gasol’s knees and Steve Blake’s abdomen hurt? What truly hurts right now is watching this Lakers team that didn’t show up Sunday in an embarrassing 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz. This isn’t meant to be a slight against the Jazz, which are now 12-10 and have a deep nine-man rotation playing hard for coach Tyrone Corbin. But if the Lakers can’t find it in them to win a game like that on Sunday, what can they win?

From Helene Elliot, LA Times:  If you believe the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol is going to make everything all right for theLakers, here’s some bad news: It won’t. There’s too much wrong for even Nash, as gifted as he is, to fix what ails the Lakers. And there’s certainly too much out of kilter for them to rest their hopes on the return of Gasol, who has been memorable so far this season only for his struggles at both ends of the floor while battling tendinitis in his knees. Even Coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the Lakers can’t count on Nash and Gasol to save them —and that was before the team’s too-often-passive 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday in a home game jammed between a 1-2 trip and four more games back East.

 From Ryan Ward, It has been a dreadful season for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers thus far with yet another loss added to their record after failing to get the best of the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on Sunday night. With a second loss to the Jazz on the season, the Lakers drop to 9-12 on the year with an uncertain future ahead with the current roster. The one player on the team that has a more uncertain future than any other moving forward is two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol. The trade speculation continues surrounding Gasol with all sorts of rumors flying around Los Angeles about his seemingly imminent departure if he can’t turn it around, but the team is reluctant to pull the trigger on a deal to send Gasol elsewhere until the return of Steve Nash. In the meantime, while Gasol rests with tendinitis in both knees, there’s been talk of the veteran power forward heading to the bench once healthy enough to get back on the floor. In Gasol’s absence, head coach Mike D’Antoni has gone with Antawn Jamison as the starter. Obviously, Jamison’s presence in the starting lineup hasn’t had a great impact with the team continuing to struggle, but it has been a topic of debate that Jamison fits D’Antoni’s system better than Gasol in terms of stretching the floor. Fortunately for Gasol, the Lakers’ coaching staff has no intention of bringing Gasol off the bench once he returns according to Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times.


Ryan Cole