Around the World (Wide Web): The Woes Continue for the Lakers

Ryan Cole —  January 22, 2013

From The USA Today: Kobe Bryant couldn’t restrain himself after this one. It wasn’t just that the Lakers lost again. It was how they did it, where they did it, and he was simply seething. He even put out a call to ditch Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo style and post up more after Pau Gasol got moved into a reserve role.”We’re going to have to look at some things,” Bryant said after Los Angeles lost 95-83 at Chicago on Monday. “We’re going to have to change something. Probably going to have to post the ball a lot more, slow the game down a lot more. That’s just my intuition, but that’s my gut right now. I have to take a look at the film again, but we’re definitely going to have to change something.”

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers are having problems this season — that’s not news with their 17-24 mark halfway through the season. Coach Mike D’Antoni has opted to move Pau Gasol, against his will, to the bench. Monday night, Gasol was productive against the Chicago Bulls in a reserve role, scoring 15 points with 12 rebounds. The game’s result (95-83 Chicago) emphasized what’s really wrong with the Lakers this season. With the score tied at 69 after three quarters, the Bulls went on to out-score the Lakers by 12 in the final quarter. The issue isn’t how the Lakers start games or halves but how they finish.The Lakers can’t close out games. They can’t get defensive stops when they need them. They don’t seem to hit the crucial basket or free throw. They turn the ball over at the most inopportune moments.

From Suki Thind, Lakers Nation: It’s happening again. Actually, it’s been happening all season, but it’s one of those “rock bottom” moments once again for the Lakers: Dwight Howard looks depressed and can’t get anything going offensively. Steve Nash looks okay offensively, but can’t guard anyone on defense. Kobe Bryant–despite a highly efficient season–hasn’t had his usual offensive firepower, and often takes too many shots. Metta World Peace’s individual defense has looked solid, but the offensive production he displayed at the start of the season has waned. Pau Gasol’s role and production have been inconsistent, as has the Lakers bench. Mike D’Antoni keeps talking about defense, but nobody really believes he even knows what it is. Earl Clark has been a pleasant surprise, though. As a team, the Lakers look collectively worse than any individual flaw; the defense is horrible and the team can’t seem to close out wins. In fact, the team has put themselves in “winnable” positions over their latest stretch of bad losses, but they simply can’t tighten the defensive screws late in games; and additionally have either horrible plays or poor execution down the stretch. All of this is fixable, in my opinion.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: To borrow a line from those great ESPN “30 for 30” teasers: What if I told youDwight Howard would miss zero games because of his surgically repaired back in the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2012-13 season and the team would be 17-24, seven games under .500, at the midway point? You wouldn’t believe it, right? The Lakers entered the past offseason as an old and slow team but acquired one of the top 10 players in the league, a physical specimen unlike any other, yet here they are getting worse by the day.  Thought Sunday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors was bad, when Howard got an unfair shake in the first half by picking up a phantom technical foul (that has since been rescinded by the league) and Kobe Bryant went 10-for-32 shooting and took all the blame? How about Monday’s version of events, when Howard managed just 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers and 5 fouls in 30 minutes? He should have come out like a man on fire in making up for the Raptors game, but after the Lakers’ 12-point loss to the Bulls he placed the blame anywhere but on himself.

From C.A. Clark, Sliver Screen & Roll: There’s really nothing left to say. The Los Angeles Lakers are not a good basketball team. It is possible (though no longer assumed) that they have a good basketball team in them somewhere, but it is equally possible that team will not make an appearance. They lack energy. They lack confidence. They lack consistency. They lack joy. Halfway through the season, the Lakers are 17-24. They’ve had some bad luck, some problematic injuries, sure. But they have also looked as bad in the past two games, against two beatable opponents, as they have all season.

Ryan Cole