Perimeter Defense. Perimeter Defense. Perimeter Defense.
The Lakers shot 51%, including a reasonable 35% on 3-pointers, were out-rebounded only by two boards, but missed an unacceptable 10 free throws, shooting only 62% from the line, and lost last night’s game by four points. Why? Perimeter Defense. The Lakers allowed Orlando to shot 62%, including an astounding 75% in the first half.
The team defense that was so outstanding in game one and more than adequate in game two, missed the plane to Florida, and never showed up in the amway arena last night.
Kobe will be ok after his sub-par night, and the team as a whole will shoot better from the line. Those are givens. But, there needs to be the team effort on D, like there was in game one, for the Lakers to rebound and show Orlando who is top dawg in the NBA.
One other issue to consider is the fact that Gasol, Odom and Bynum played 95 minutes between them, and took a total of 23 shots. Dwight Howard committed four personals defending ghosts in the paint. The Laker big men need to shoot more, get Howard moving around more, coming out from the basket if possible, but at least having to actually defend more underneath. Only good things can happen if they do so, shooters actually scoring, and maybe Howard picking up more fouls, and maybe playing less than the 45 minutes he has averaged over the last two games.