After such a hard-fought loss to Miami on Wednesday, the Lakers should feel totally embarrassed by their loss last night in Utah, who are in the Northwest Division cellar with the NBA’ second worst record. The now 9-23 Jazz didn’t so much beat the Lakers as the Lakers lost to them, giving up the ball on 14 turnovers that translated into 15 Jazz points and losing the battle of fast-break points, 25 to 12.
When it really counted, in the last five seconds of the game, individual defense almost saved the game for LA, but team defense gave it back. As Gordon Hayward drove the lane in a 103-103 tie and as time was running out, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill provided
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|stellar defense, and Hayward’s shot missed, but the rest of the Lakers team, Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks and especially Shawne Williams, were spectators, barely taking a single step between them, providing Derrick Favors had a clear path to the ball, rebound, and to the basket for a dunk, as he scored Utah’s game-winner.
There were two big pluses to lean on as the Lakers go forward for several more weeks without Kobe – the play last night of Chris Kaman, and despite that last five seconds, the improving health and play of Jordan Farmar.
After his excellent pre-season, Kaman has mysteriously fallen to the end of Mick D’Antoni’s bench, sitting the full 48, game after game. When he does get a chance to play, such as last night in place of Pau Gasol, who did not travel to Utah due to his onging
going from two to seven. As Farmar plays more, he will continue to improve and increase his playing time. He WILL show D’Antoni and Lakers’ fans that he is the team’s point guard, for the rest of this season, and going forward beyond that.
While in there he committed four turnovers in his 26 minutes and failed to pull down a single rebound. Despite his team leading point total, Utah outscored the Lakers by seven points while young was on the court. For comparison purposes, Kaman and Farmer were each plus-four.
While I still support Coach D’Antoni and think he can succeed with the Lakers, he needs to re-assess some of his decisions, certainly giving Kaman more playing time. I do realize that as long as young continues to score, unless and until another Laker steps up, he has little choice but to continue to play young as he has.