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I really like Jordan Clarkson. He cares about getting better. He works hard. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He is self aware enough to see some of the weaknesses in his game and then takes measures to try to eliminate them. Any player who has these traits will endear themselves to me because not all players are like this. A lot of them are the opposite.

Jordan Clarkson also frustrates me at times. He has become increasingly one dimensional as an offensive player. When watching him play live, especially recently, I’ve wondered if he realized he had teammates on the floor. During the recent game against the 76ers, his general approach led me to actually tweet this:

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The Lakers may have been able to end their 8 game losing streak with a win a in Philly over the 76ers, but the NBA schedule makers have a way of trying to humble you quickly. You’ll recall the 4 game in 5 night roadie the Lakers struggled on just a little while back, well now the team heads into Cleveland for it’s 3rd game in 4 nights and their 4th in 6 nights — all of which have been on the road.

Even if it weren’t a back to back, though, playing the Cavs would be a daunting challenge. The Cavs are the best team in the East and, if it weren’t for the Warriors looking amazing after adding Kevin Durant, the defending champion Cavs would likely be viewed as the best team in the league. Their starting lineup has one of the best net ratings in the league (+9.4 in 281 minutes) and any time LeBron, Love, and Kyrie share the floor they are outscoring teams by 11.4 points per 100 possessions.

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I am swamped in my everyday life, so this will be short. Sorry, ya’ll.

The Lakers have lost 8 in a row and even though I think they are closer to getting back on track than those consecutive L’s say, they actually have to start winning games for that to matter. Tonight in Philly against the 76ers offers a nice opportunity to get that win even though they offer their own set of of issues for the Lakers to overcome.

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Much like seeing the forest through the trees, it can be hard to find positives about the Lakers while in the midst of an 8 game losing streak. Coming off double digit losses to the Kings and Nets only piles on further, leaving many wondering where the early season fun went; where the confidence and joy the team played with disappeared to.

The obvious answer is injuries and losing. It’s hard to be upbeat, happy, and feeling good about yourself when you’ve lost 8 games in a row. It’s even harder when the things you’re doing on the floor aren’t actually working, when your coach says they played mentally soft (as he told the team directly after the Nets loss), and when the other team seems to have all the answers during games while every single one of your runs ends up falling short.

This has been the Lakers’ lives of late and it is dispiriting. To the players, to the coaches, to those of us watching.

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So, as some of you already know, a new project is coming to FB&G in partnership with Pete Zayas from @LakerFilmRoom. We will be doing a podcast together which will run weekly (and, maybe, more often than that depending on what’s going on with the team). I am super excited about this and hope you all will find it worth your time.

The pod itself will be less a reactionary response to the daily going-ons of the team and more of a targeted look at topics and ideas which intrigue us both. We hope these sessions give you a sense of what intrigues us about the Lakers at any given time while also giving you some insight into how we look at and absorb information from the games.

With that, click through below for our first episode. As always, thanks for your support.

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With the Lakers currently mired in a 7 game losing streak, it is hard to be optimistic. That early season good start, buoyed by a strong offense and a better than expected defense seems like ancient history. The Lakers now look like one of the worst defensive teams in the league and have lost some of that offensive magic which made them so much fun to watch. The question, I guess, is whether what we are seeing now is the new norm or if there is a way to recapture what was happening in the season’s first few weeks.

I don’t think anyone can give a definitive answer to that question, but I do know we should have a better answer over the next handful of games. The Lakers played 3 solid quarters against the Kings, but were so thoroughly thrashed in the 3rd period none of that really mattered. Over the next couple of weeks, the team will remain on the road, playing some winnable games, but also several which pundits should have them losing. During the first part of the year, the Lakers surprised by pulling out several of those “they have no business winning this game” games while also picking up W’s against similarly talented teams.

 

Teams like, well, the Nets.

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The Lakers are in the midst of a 6 game losing streak. Sunday’s game against the Knicks saw the return of D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, but both were limited with their minutes and Russell struggled with his shot mightily while looking rusty in general. The team’s defense continued to be terrible, switching excessively and then not containing dribble penetration in the half court or transition.

Despite all that, the Lakers lost by 6 points and had a real chance to take the game in the final 5 minutes. Again, they had a chance to win the game. In other words, there are lots of things to work on with these Lakers and I can understand there being a certain amount of targeted concern. I also think the team is going to get back on the right track now that the injuries are clearing up. Now if only Tarik Black can come back soon.

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Saturday it was reported that D’Angelo Russell was close to a return, with today’s game against the Knicks being a real possibility. Well, Luke Walton offered some good news after this morning’s shootaround:

Assuming nothing goes awry, Russell returning has the chance to offer a real boost to the Lakers’ offense and normalize the team’s rotations. While the former is desperately needed, the latter point cannot be ignored either. After Jose Calderon hurt his hamstring, Luke Walton has turned to Ingram and Clarkson as the “PG” and neither offered a real solution to the team’s woes. Clarkson has not shown to be the passer/playmaker needed at that spot and Ingram, though a fine initiator, is not assertive or threatening enough out of the P&R to really get the defense on its heels.

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