It’s one thing for the Los Angeles Lakers to lose consecutive games in a row in general, but it is another thing to lose consecutive games to teams that are chasing them that are not even as close to as good. There will be times during this long season that the Lakers will lose a game here or there, but if they will lose games, it will be most likely because of their over-hyped defense.
Losing to the Denver Nuggets was miserable because they were missing their top two energy players Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin. The Lakers actually led by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but that vanished very quickly as the Nuggets engineered a 16-0 run at one point. The Lakers actually came back to take a two point lead, but the Nuggets then answered with an 11-0 to ice the game.
The Lakers allowed 10 consecutive points by an opponent on two separate occasions in the same quarter. That happens from time to time in a game, but twice in one quarter? They even allowed the Nuggets bench to score 43 points while Ty Lawson and J.R. Smith each scored double-digit points. That’s just poor defense.
The Phoenix Suns game was even funnier. They made 22 three-pointers, one shot away from the NBA-record 23 threes by the Orlando Magic against the Sacramento in January 2009. They Lakers also shot well from downtown making nine threes, but if you allow the other team to make 22 threes, that’s just an automatic loss.
The Suns were even outrebounded by 17 (49-32) and still won. Even their starting center Robin Lopez left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury. What does his replacement Channing Frye do? He shot 4-9 from three point land and ended up with 20 points. Once again very poor defense.
They have allowed over 100 points in nine of the 11 games they have played this season. That’s just horrific and inexcusable for a two-time defending championship team. They actually have multiple players who have been in the NBA All-Defensive First-Team several times between Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest.
Sure, some of the games they allowed 100 points were against good offensive teams like the Denver Nuggets, the Phoenix Suns (twice), the Houston Rockets and even the Memphis Grizzlies. Just because their opponents have a good offense doesn’t mean you can’t stop them.
The Lakers are 21st in the league in points allowed giving up over 103 points per game. They are somehow eighth in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage with 44 percent; however, opponents have shot 37 percent from three point range, which places L.A. 23rd in the league.
One thing the Lakers have going for them in this recent slide is that Bryant is starting to play to his old form, scoring over 25 points in each game. However, he has missed 30 shots between the two losses so Bryant needs to be more selective with his shots. Another thing is the Lakers high octane offense continues to score as they piled up over 100 points in each game once again. They have scored over 100 points in all but one game this season. Also, the Lakers lost close games to both the Nuggets and the Suns, but that was because their offense kept them in the game.
As obvious as it sounds, eventually the Lakers need to start playing defense. They have plenty of guys on the team that can prevent other players from scoring at such a high rate so there is no excuse for this. Are they just too old, too slow or are they just not a good enough defensive team? Even though the Lakers lost only two games, they finally have a reason why they will lose games, because they can’t stop anybody.