Another pitiful loss that displayed another pitiful defensive effort from the Lakers Tuesday night as they fell to the Cavaliers by the score of 100 – 94. The Lakers are now 9 – 13 on the season and continue to show absolutely no spirit or heart on either side of the ball.
For some reason this team cannot figure out how to space the floor on offense and rotate properly on defense. Kobe continues to shoot the ball too much and while Dwight is getting enough touches, he cannot convert his free throws after he gets fouled. There is absolutely no chemistry or continuity on this team and the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol may not be enough to overcome that.
It seems as though whenever this team turns the ball over it’s an automatic basket for the opposition as none of the Laker players care enough to hustle back on defense. Things better get straightened out quickly or this Lakers team may not even make it to the postseason, resulting in the biggest shocker in NBA history. Here are the grades for Tuesday night’s L:
Chris Duhon: C
Duhon has a decent grasp of this offense, but he is such a defensive liability that his positive contributions do not outweigh the negative ones.
Kobe Bryant: B+
Gotta give it up to Kobe for the offensive performance, but the Mamba has been a large reason why this team is so bad on defense. Whenever there is a defensive rotation miscue, it’s almost always because of Kobe. He doesn’t rotate to help and he doesn’t get back on defense when the Lakers turn the ball over. This may be due to the fact that he’s in his 17th season or that he has to carry this team night in and night out on the offensive end. Whatever the reason, this blueprint the Lakers have going for them has proven that it can’t work in the short term and with all the minutes Kobe is playing, he is going to be exhausted once the postseason comes around.
Metta World Peace: B-
Metta once again seems confused when he is on the offensive end unless he stands in the corner and shoots 3’s. Why not post him up on the elbow and see if he can create for himself or for his teammates?
Jordan Hill: B
Bad night offensively, but J. Hill brought it on the defensive end as well as on the boards. He is much better suited coming off the bench, but with Pau out, Jordan’s toughness is needed and he will deliver on that, but he cannot produce offensively like Pau or even Antawn for that matter.
Dwight Howard: A-
The 13 for 22 shooting from the charity stripe is not that bad in comparison to his season average, but Dwight needs to score more than 19 points, especially when 13 of those were from the free throw line. However, when Kobe is shooting the ball almost 30 times per game it becomes hard to blame Dwight for his lack of offense. Teams just pack the painted area and force the Lakers to hit open 3 pointers and sometimes it works for the Lakers, but most of the time it does not.
Jodie Meeks: C+
Quiet night for Jodie, but he still shows effort on the defensive end which is all the team can ask for. Jodie will be so much more productive once Steve Nash returns, but until then he needs to continue the defensive intensity in order to gain the trust of his teammates.
Antawn Jamison: C+
When the 3 pointers aren’t falling for him, Antawn is not able to contribute like the team needs him to. He needs to continue to cut to the basket more, especially with his ability to score in unorthodox fashion.