Kobe Bryant might want to sit down a few of his teammates for one of his Kobe System seminars if the Lakers ever want to win a game away from Staples Center.
With the Milwaukee Bucks playing without center Andrew Bogut due to injury and missing Stephen Jackson due to suspension, it was likely that the Lakers, seemingly invigorated by their home win against the Clippers, would change this season’s theme of road futility against the 7-11 Bucks. But, despite leading for most of the first quarter during tonight’s game against the Bucks, the Lakers would fail to score 100 points for their 13 consecutive game, setting a franchise record during the shot-clock era in a tired 100-89 loss at the Bradley Center.
The only thing going for the Lakers on Saturday? Kobe Bryant, as always. Bryant would make six free throws to break Jerry West’s franchise record for free throws made of 7,160. Bryant is also three field goals short of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise record of 9,935 for the Lakers, which Bryant will surely break in tomorrow’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers’ loss on Saturday pushed them out of the top eight teams in the Western Conference at 11-9. The last time the Lakers had as poor a record after 20 games? The 2007-08 season after a December 9th win over the Golden State Warriors pushed the Lakers to their third straight win and to a 12-8 record, still better than what the Lakers have accomplished this year with both a healthy Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Interestingly enough, this Wednesday will be the four-year anniversary of the Lakers-Grizzlies trade that led to the acquisition of Pau Gasol. Despite winning two titles and reaching the NBA Finals for three consecutive years during that stretch, Laker fans have been calling for trades involving either of the Laker big men. Despite the Lakers’ poor start to the 2007-08 season, the Lakers rallied following the Pau Gasol trade to make the NBA Finals. Might a trade this season for a Dwight Howard or Deron Williams turn things around for a stagnant Lakers team? It did once before…
POINTS OF NOTE
Andrew Goudelock was hospitalized on Friday night after the Lakers’ flight landed in Milwaukee. Goudelock was treated for dehydration and was able to participate in shootaround Saturday afternoon before the Bucks game.
Metta World Peace, coming off his best performance of the season against the Clippers (three points, five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block), has not started a single game for the Mike Brown-led Lakers this season…but that isn’t a Brownian philosophy that’s set in stone. Despite World Peace’s career-lows in both scoring and field goal percentage, Mike Brown seemed to have noticed a resurgence from World Peace during the Lakers last game:
“I like him on the second unit. I want to give him a chance to be with that second unit. But, at the end of the day, there is a chance I would throw him in the [starting] lineup if I thought it would help our team. I’m not opposed to that.”
Kobe Bryant did what Kobe Bryant does. Shooting an efficient 48% from the field on 10-fo-21 shooting, Bryant tried to let the Laker bigs go to work early in the game on the undersized Bucks…to no avail. With four shot attempts in the first quarter (three of which were good), Bryant wouldn’t shoot a basket during the second quarter. When it became apparent that Bynum and Gasol were not working for the Lakers, and with the Lakers trailing by eight at the half, Bryant would come out in the second half guns blazing, shooting 7-17 in the second half. Despite Bryant’s four turnovers and rapid-fire shooting in the second half, his 27 points and nine assists would lead the team.
Andrew Goudelock came off the bench in relief of Derek Fisher for the second straight game, making the most of his new yet limited opportunities by scoring 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting, knocking down three 3-pointers. The former NCAA Three-Point Shooting Champion, despite being sent down to the D-League on December 17th, has shot 10-for-18 combined in his last two games off the bench.
Pau Gasol transformed back into White Swan in his performance against the Bucks, shooting 6-for-18 on an off-night for the center despite the Lakers attempting to feed him the ball early. While Gasol’s 15 rebounds led the team, his defense of Drew Gooden was incredibly disappointing, allowing Gooden to lead the Bucks in scoring with 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting.
Andrew Bynum, known lovingly by Jim Buss as the future of the Lakers organization, pulled down one more rebound (9) than Kobe Bryant (8) despite the absence of a true center playing against him in Milwaukee. ‘Nough said.