Hoping to bounce back from a tough loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers took another difficult L on Wednesday night. Missed rebounds and bad shot selections caused the Lakers to be taken down by………..The Washington Wizards???
Sounds unreal, but the then 8-29 Wizards (who had the 2nd worst record in the league going into that game) did indeed beat the now 23-16 Lakers. If that’s not bad enough, they beat them with mostly second string players. Two embarrassing losses in a row after a strong show out against the Miami Heat on Sunday has many people wondering if the Lakers are in trouble.
There are some numbers from this game we should focus on. 21, 31, and 7:
21: In the third quarter the Lakers lead the Wizards 76-55, thus blowing a 21 point lead. One could argue the Lakers were fatigued after enduring an overtime loss the night before. But there really is no excuse for blowing a 21 point lead to an 8 win team.
31: Kobe Bryant took 31 shots Wednesday night, making only 9 of them. I understand the Lakers need another good G and are lacking perimeter players. But Bryant’s many long jumpers gave Washington numerous opportunities to rebound and capitalize. He shot 1-10 in the 4th. Interesting stat: his 22 missed shots is tied for the most missed shots in the NBA this season. Who is the other player who missed 22 shots this season? Kobe Bryant.
7: The number of turnovers committed by C Andrew Bynum. Bynum admitted that once they grabbed the impressive lead they weren’t even trying, and was quoted as saying “I was out there kind of loafing around and having a good time.” This loafing apparently meant costly turnovers to give the Wizards more opportunities to score (Wizards scored 26 fast break points and 17 points off Lakers turnovers).
So are the Lakers in trouble? My opinion: Yes. They struggle on the road and rely too much on Bryant to be their shooter. The same Bryant who is only shooting 26.2% from the field in “clutch” situations this year. The team apparently is missing their old triangle offense and having trouble adjusting to Mike Brown’s style of offense. I just think they need time. As of right now, this just isn’t the Lakers year.