55 losses – it’s a franchise worst. A few weeks ago, knowing that they were going to make the playoffs, there was talk in the locker room about getting to at least 30 wins. What a depressing objective for a team who won back-to-back championships just four years ago. Even more depressing is the fact that they’re not even going reach that goal.
For the first 24 minutes tonight, a win sure looked promising. True – the Lakers have spent a good part of their season playing well in the first half and then completely falling apart in the second, but there’s always a foolish hope that it will be different this time…but it hardly ever is. Tonight was one of those nights.
After leading the Grizz by four points in the first quarter, the Lakers played a competitive second and went into halftime down by just a point. The second half (the third quarter in particular) was a different story, told by a different team, who couldn’t sustain their first half efforts and lost, 102-90.
First Half – 54% – that’s how well the Lakers shot in the first half, compared to the Grizzlies’ 43%. Memphis hit just one less three pointer, but they also gave up 18 fast break points to the Lakers. Even the points in the paint, a malady for the purple and gold all season, was even at 22 points apiece. The Lakers led by as much as nine points, led by Jodie Meeks and Nick Young, who scored 11 points each. They did give up eight turnovers, but only gave up eight points in the process.
Fast Break Points – Lakers were great in the open court today, outscoring Memphis 31-9 on the break.
Second Half – The third quarter was typical for the home team. It’s been their blight for a long while and tonight was no exception. It’s not hard to dig an 18-point deficit when you’re shooting 29% from the field and your opponent is hot-shooting at 68%. The Lakers gave up twice as many points as they scored – 17 to the Grizzlies’ 34. They were 1-5 from three and grabbed just six rebounds to Memphis’ 14. The last quarter was a relatively good one for the Lakers; or rather it was a bad one for the Grizzlies. They shot just 5-15 for the quarter and, despite the Lakers hitting just 8-20, they were 4-8 from three to Memphis’ 1-4. The damage from the third quarter was too much for the Lakers to overcome apparently. Despite Meek’s 20 points and a rare productive night for Wesley Johnson, who scored 15 points on 6-12 and 3-5 from three, the Lakers didn’t do enough to contain the four Memphis starters and reserve, Mike Miller who all scored in double digits.
Tonight was the Lakers’ final home game, and they have road games against the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs to close out the season. It’s too bad they couldn’t get one last win for the home crowd, but the way this season has gone, it’s not surprising they should end on such a disappointing note at Staples Center.