“Lakers lost the lead,” is becoming the media’s mantra of late, and you have to wonder if the team is as sick of doing it as we are of saying it after every other game, win or lose. A once promising post-All-Star break Cinderalla story seemed so long ago. The Lakers came up from the ashes after being eight games below a .500 record, to suddenly competing for not just a playoff spot, but perhaps a higher seed. Even despite enduring the absence of both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol for a stretch, they managed to keep rolling, running farther away from the Utah Jazz whom they overtook in the standings. And then a three-game slide came about, one against the lowly Wizards at Staples Center despite once leading by 18 points.
Then there’s tonight – getting off to a quick start in the first quarter, then slowing down in the second, exchanging leads back and forth in the third, and then completely losing their grip on the game in the fourth. After allowing Milwaukee just 18 points in the first quarter, the Lakers were outscored 95-78 in the final three, en route to a 103-113 loss.
Good Start – The Lakers have had many good starts this season, but often can’t get the game to end well. Tonight, they allowed the Bucks to scored just 18 points in the first 12 minutes on 35% shooting. They shared the ball (six assists on nine made field goals) and were active on the glass.
Balanced Scoring – Again, there was a good distribution of points, as six Lakers were in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant’s 30 points. Steve Nash took over in the second quarter, going 4-5 from the field to score 14 of his 16 points.
Dwight Howard – Howard, for his part, continued with his consistent play. The game after a 25 point-16 rebound, 5 block, 5 assist game, he chipped in 15 points on 6-8 from the field, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the opportunity to attempt more than that. Eight field goal attempts in almost 39 minutes of playing time. Th
Turnovers – 21 turnovers last night and no improvement tonight with 18, which led to 22 Bucks’ points. Milwaukee knew how to play up to the Lakers’ weakness – fast breaks. With 18 miscues, the Lakers practically dared the Bucks to leave them in the dust as they scored easily on the other side, and they racked up 30 fast break points as a result.
Offense – Where to begin? How about their 5-20 from behind the arc. Or Howard’s 3-10 from the free throw line. Bryant’s 6-17 from the field. How about their ball movement, which was present in the first quarter and, for the most part, ended there. They handed out just 19 assists on 34 made field goals for the game, and in the end only shot 44%.
There isn’t much to say that we haven’t already said about this team, but if they continue on this “system” of play, they may not even get to keep their playoff spot. Dallas and Portland are creeping in, and the Lakers have to know that nothing needs fixing, but their effort and attitude. If they can’t figure that out by now, the won’t be going anywhere.