Lakers Now Two Games Into Second of Many Long Losing Streaks

After the sun and stars lined up just right for the Lakers to steal a victory from Charlotte last Sunday, they returned to reality two nights later in Memphis, losing a game that was slightly closer than anticipated, and followed that with an extremely poor effort, one not nearly as close as the final score made it seem, in a loss last night in New Orleans. Down by as many as 23, a late 14-1 rally and 33 points from Kobe Bryant made the final score a deceiving 109-102. Despite hitting five-of-11 three-pointers, Kobe missed 18 of his 28 shots, the night after breaking John Havlicek’s NBA record of 13,418 missed shots.

The game was lost in the paint, as the Lakers' had no answer for Anthony Davis, Omar Asik, Ryan Anderson, Tyreke Evans, et al., as the Pelicans hit 30 of 46 shots in the paint for 60 points. For the game, those four shot 65%. For the game, New Orleans hit 54.9% including 42.1% on eight-of-19 threes, bettering the Lakers' overall 41.7%.

Last year's Lakers' squad set new heights
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for disregard for defense, and when Byron Scott was brought in to take over head coaching duties, he made a point, at least to the press if not to his players, that defensive improvement was priority number one. Yet, this year’s team has, incredibly, gotten far worse (now just who was it that predicted that, I wonder?). Following last night’s loss to New Orleans, Scott reamed out his team for their non-existent defense, saying:

“Most of the time, the things that we want to do, they haven’t done… and I don’t know if it’s because they’re incapable of doing it or not….

“They got pretty much anything they wanted in the paint with no resistance whatsoever,… It was just terrible. That was probably the worst defense that we’ve played from the preseason all the way to this particular point.”

I wonder whose fault that is? Isn’t good coaching supposed to make a team better? The problem is, of course, that this team has neither a good coach, nor talented, coachable

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players. Quote Kobe, on the Pelican's performance last night: "It was a layup drill."

Backup point guard Ronnie Price, whose one claim to fame throughout a totally undistinguished ten years in the NBA occurred this past pre-season when following a turnover, he threw one of his shoes at an opposing player, received an automatic ejection from last night's game following a flagrant-two foul, where he
almost decapitated the Pelicans’ Austin Rivers.

At 1-7 and enjoying a day off today, the Lakers will next face the defending champ Spurs, followed by the high-powered Warriors, and after an easier matchup against the Hawks, though in Atlanta, they then face the Rockets and Mavs. Even if they could eek out a win against the Hawks, by the end of business next Friday, they can not possibly be any better than 2-11, though I’m betting on 1-12.

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