How many ways are there to describe a Laker loss this season? Here’s version number 21: the Lakers kept it close until they didn’t, and then they lost.
It’s a sad, destructive pattern that has them at seven games under .500. Their worst record last season was eight games under .500 before the successful stretch they managed to end the regular season. Though there are still 47 games left to play this time around, a hole is a hole, and the Lakers have dug themselves a deep one.
As they have done often of late, they had a solid start. Despite allowing the Mavericks to shoot 60% from the field, they still ended the first quarter just two points behind the Mavs at 33-31. And although the inched their way back to keep the game competitive after every Mavs’ run, they still could never get over the hump and lost 110-97.
Jodie Meeks – Meeks didn’t shoot well from the field, just 4-11 from downtown and 6-16 overall, but he did some work at the free throw line going 8-9. He also had six assists, four rebounds and four steals, one of the few Lakers who played defense tonight. With Shawne Williams waived by the team today, someone had to take his shots and Meeks got the bulk of it. He finished with 24 points.
Wesley Johnson – 17 points on 50% from the field. It’s been a rough few weeks for Johnson offensively, but he appears to be getting into his groove. He shot 3-7 from behind the arc and 7-14 overall.
Pau Gasol – After putting together some solid games in the previous two contests, Gasol shot just 5-14 from the field for his 15 points. He and fellow Euro, Dirk Nowitzki, usually have a good back and forth, but tonight, Germany beat Spain 27-15. Gasol didn’t score well, but he did lead the game with 13 rebounds.
Turnovers – It’s never a good thing to have 20 turnovers, especially when they lead to 25 points for your opponent. It was a beyond sloppy game, with point guard Kendall Marshall, who had just a single turnover in 40+ minutes a few days ago, committed a game-leading six turnovers tonight.
Free Throws – Yes, the Lakers got to the free throw line 26 times, but they also missed eight points worth.
Defense – The mother of all low points is the Lakers’ inability/unwillingness to defend the ball. Except for a 44% from the field second quarter, Dallas shot 50%+ in each of the other quarters. No one was helping or rotating and in effect, a 7-foot Nowitzki was sometimes left against the defense of 6’4” Meeks. Dallas had 17 steals to the Lakers’ six.
It’s getting so tired, the way the Lakers are playing and losing. It’s the same formula with every loss, except this time, the the margin of loss wasn’t more than just 13 points. It’s been so much worse this past season.
Up next is a rematch with the Houston Rockets. The Lakers got the better of their former teammate, Dwight Howard, in the last meeting, but we’re short one Steve Blake for a dramatic game-winning three pointer if it’s needed.