This team’s short term memory is unbelievable. When they lose games, they can’t seem to remember what they did wrong to make it right for the next contest. And when they win, they can’t seem to remember what they did right so they can do it again.
Last night, the Lakers defeated the Portland Trailblazers IN Portland, where they rarely every win. They crashed the boards, played active defense, which forced turnovers, which led to fast break points and high-percentage shots inside. They produced a 33-point first quarter and allowed just 20.
Tonight, the second night of a back-to-back, 24 hours after their victory, they started in exactly the opposite way. Their defense was lazy, they were outrebounded almost three times over in the first quarter, took jumper after jumper and, in effect, they fell behind by 12 points at the end of the first quarter. They continued this effortlessness through the third quarter, where they fell behind by as much as 21 points.
Late in the third quarter and into the fourth, the Lakers feverishly tried to rally to eke out a win, but their defensive efforts (or lack thereof) in the second half were just as bad as their efforts in the first, and they lost 132-125 (132!!!).
Pau Gasol – A double-double for Gasol tonight, 29 points on 10-15 from the field, 12 rebounds, four assists and a block. Gasol was en fuego out there, going for 15 points in just the first quarter. Whether he’s trying to prove to the Laker front office that he’s still worth it, or auditioning for potential new teams, he’s looking great out there. Too bad about those five missed free throws, though. Gasol is usually a great free throw shooter.
Kent Bazemore – 23 points on 8-17 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. 18 of those 23 points came in the second half. It’s funny what happens when you give a player a chance. In his first seven games as a Laker, he’s averaging 16.9 ppg on 47% from the field. To think he was a bench warmer up in Golden State.
Jordan Farmar – He’s like a workhorse, finishing with 20 points on 7-12 from the field and handing out eight assists in the process.
Offense – The Lakers followed their party in the paint last night with tonight’s 60 points. They also outscored New Orleans 17-15 in second chance points and 20-12 in fastbreak points. They scored 74 points in the second half and 125 points overall.
Defense – …the bad news is, they allowed the Pelicans to score 132 points. As great as their offense was, their defense was just as bad. How can a team who shot 54% from the field lose? By allowing their opponent to shoot 60%, that’s how. The Pelicans’ lowest field goal percentage was 55% in the second quarter. They shot 58% in the first, 65% in the third and 63% in the fourth. Yes, the object of the game is to score more than your opponent, but at some point, perhaps a plan to keep the opponent from scoring should follow. The Lakers did not defend and, in effect, did not win because of it. Anthony Davis, who basically ran over the Lakers in New Orleans, went for 28 points on 10-16 from the field and 8-11 from the free throw line. Then there’s Eric Gordon, who shot 9-13 for his 28 points and 4-5 from downtown. Tyreke Evans chipped in 24 points as well. The Lakers couldn’t even stop one of those players, let alone three.
There goes that “winnable” game. Next up are the Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.