Haven’t we seen this before? The Lakers get crushed for the majority of the game, expend all their team energy on cutting down the double-digit deficit only to come up short in the end. The sad part is that the Knicks’ best player, Carmelo Anthony, didn’t even play most of the 2nd half and he still ended the night with 30 points.
The Lakers continue to show no improvement and still cannot seem to execute the simple stuff. Whether it’s passing the ball into the post or just getting a stop when the game is tight, the Lakers have not shown any type of progress since the hiring of Mike D’Antoni. As the TNT crew stated during the game, this Lakers team has no trust whatsoever for each other and until that happens this team will not progress.
A major reason this team cannot get stops is because guys are getting beat off the dribble on the perimeter leaving their anchor, Dwight, in a tough situation where he must either rotate and leave his man open for a rebound or alley-oop, or Dwight could stay with his man and let the penetrator get right to the rim. The team is 0 – 2 on their current 4 game road trip and Friday’s game against the lowly 3 – 16 Washington Wizards will not be an easy one. Here are the grades for Thursday night’s L:
Chris Duhon: F
Coach D seems to be playing Meeks in the backcourt with Kobe more often because of Meeks’ defensive prowess as well as his 3-point shooting. While Duhon is a better ball handler and can shoot the ball well, his pick- and-roll and individual defense is non-existent.
Kobe Bryant: B
Still can’t figure out if Kobe is right or wrong with the way he plays without Nash and Gasol in the line up. When your teammates can’t hit their shots and play with minimal effort, what should you do? Young Kobe was able to win some games by taking over, but Kobe in his 17th year cannot will his team to win anymore, he needs help.
Metta World Peace: B
Tough task for Metta in guarding the favorite for MVP this season, Carmelo Anthony, but he did put up a fight in MSG unlike some of his other teammates.
Antawn Jamison: F
Like Steve Kerr said during tonight’s telecast, when Antawn plays well, the Lakers as a team seem to play well. Tonight Antawn was not on his game and neither were the Lakers.
Dwight Howard: B-
Dwight once again shot well from the field going 8 for 11, but 7 rebounds will not cut it. With that being said, we must remember that Dwight is constantly helping because his teammates are getting beat by their man on the perimeter so Dwight is forced to rotate and help instead of being able to box out his man for the rebound. Dwight isn’t helping his cause when he gets dumb fouls like his 2nd foul early in the 4th quarter that leaves his team even more short handed with Pau and Dwight in the front court.
Jodie Meeks: C+
Bad shooting night for Jodie, but that is his job on this team. If Jodie doesn’t pull the trigger, teams will just continue to clog the lane and get the ball out of Dwight’s hands.
Devin Ebanks: B-
Laker Nation has been waiting to see Devin make a contribution in this system and maybe Thursday night was the beginning of something special. Being able to run the floor, stretch the floor, and play good defense are all important factors in order to play in the D’Antoni system and Ebanks has all of those qualities.