After going 0-2 in very winnable games against Phoenix and Washington the week before, the Lakers went .500 this week going 2-2. The Lakers made a late push but couldn’t get on top of the Warriors, continued their win streak against the Timberwolves, gave up a 14 point lead to the Milwaukee Bucks, and battled from behind and got the win in Sacramento. The Lakers have 9 games left in the season including games against Dallas, San Antonio, and the Clippers. Here are this week’s Top to Bottom.
3. Steve Nash
Steve Nash exited Sunday night’s game 2 minutes in with a hamstring injury, but still made the top list by averaging 17.6 points (up from his season average of 12.7) and 7 assists per game in the three games before that. Nash’s injury was re-evaluated and will sit out Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
2. Dwight Howard
Dwight averaged 18.75 points, 15.25 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks a game in the four games played this week. Dwight is currently on a 20 game streak pulling double digit rebounds and has had at least one block in the last 13 games. Howard’s play has definitely improved throughout the season and with Metta World Peace out a playoff spot still not certain, we’ll need him to anchor our defense in the last 9 games of the season.
1. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant broke another career record this week when he passed Wilt Chamberlain for the fourth spot on the all time scorers list. Bryant averaged 29 points and6.75 assists a game this week. The week was highlighted on Saturday against the Sacramento Kings when he went for 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 14 assists. That marks the third time Kobe tied his career high in assists this year.
3. Lakers Defense
It’s been an issue all season long… the Lakers just can’t play consistent enough defense throughout a 48 minute game. Last week we saw the Lakers grab a 14 point lead to only let it slip away to the Milwaukee Bucks. The same story the week before when an 18 point lead turned into a loss to the Washington Wizards at home. We see it game after game when opposing teams are able to open the game with double digit leads or claw back into games just as the Wolves and Bucks did this week. Opposing guards are always able to find lanes to the basket once Howard sits down and Laker rotations just aren’t fast enough to find the open shooter. Now with MWP out for what will likely be the rest of the season, the Lakers need to find a way to tighten up their defense if they want to get into the playoffs, let alone make a run.
2. Jodie Meeks
Jodie Meeks finds himself on the bottom list again this week. Meeks took over the starter role left empty after MWP’s injury but hasn’t found the three-point stroke that the Lakers need from him. This week Meeks went only 28% from beyond the arch and 37% overall.
1. Earl Clark
Earl Clark has seen a significant decrease in playtime averaging only 15 minutes a game this past week. Clark went scoreless in three of the four games this week and averaged only 3 rebounds a game. With MWP out minutes should open back up for Clark but will he be able to show us the same productivity he did earlier in the season? Or is “Clarksanity” officially over?