As improved as the defense is for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, it seems like I’ve been defending them even harder in blogs all year. I thought that this team’s struggles early on were justifiable: a new system on both offense and defense…roles in flux (mainly the SF spot)…and a banged up superstar.
I also thought, and still do, that it’s better to have a good defense and bad offense than the other way around. Offense has a way of catching up as the season goes on while bad defense just stays bad all year.
I also believe that teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers want no part of the Lakers in a seven-game series. In a playoff-style, halfcourt game the “Big Three” of the Lakers are still a nightmare.
But what I’m seeing from the Lakers on the road this season is starting to make me sick. Legitimate title contenders don’t play like this away from home. Young, inexperienced teams win at home and lose on the road…not squads that are just one year removed from a championship with the same cast of veterans.
This Laker squad is just another mediocre team, lacking focus and discipline. It’s shocking considering their veteran cast of players.
The recent loss against the league-worst Washington Wizards was the boiling point for this bloggissist.
I know, the ‘Wiz’ beat the Thunder at home too this season, but Los Angeles was coming off of a loss to the Pistons (another lottery contender) and were up 20 at the nation’s capital halfway through the 3rd quarter. There is no excuse for blowing that game.
What happened from the 3rd quarter on was a debacle…and it was a microcosm of their struggles on the road all season. Inconsistent play and an offense that just stalls suddenly…it’s becoming the calling card for this proud team.
It’s no surprise that some Laker players want a return to the triangle offense (I heard Steve Blake cried when he found out). Mike Brown must resist this movement at all costs in order to avoid a full-out mutiny…just ask assistant coach John Kuester.
If it’s not the offense, then what or who is to blame for the Laker struggles away from Staples Center this season?
…Mike Brown for not defining roles more clearly and sticking to them?
…..Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss (hold the Chaz) for perpetual trade rumors??
Maybe it’s just the personalities on this team. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum hardly pick-up their teammates when things turn bad. They have a lot of Chris Paul in ‘em.
Meanwhile, Pau Gasol is just happy to still be on the team. No wonder he’s taking too many jumpers this season…the guy is just trying not to step on anybody’s toes before the March 15th trade deadline. How can you expect him to take it to the basket?
Or, the team’s struggles could just be a result of bad karma from the team’s radio announcers. John Ireland has to be the smuggest commentator in the game not named Tommy Heinsohn. As the Lakers were dominating the Wizards early on, Ireland felt the need to mock the ‘Wiz’ on every possession. I’m surprised he didn’t call them the Washington Generals.
Does anybody know if John’s ever touched a basketball in his life? This is the same guy who said that Dwight Howard was going to be traded to the Lakers during the month of January just to boost ratings.
No Laker fans, Dwight isn’t coming through that door…..and neither is Phil, the triangle offense, or a young Shaq in his prime.
This team is going to have to get out of its road funk the old fashioned way: with hard work and togetherness. If not, Mike Brown might end up coaching his son over at Mater Dei.
Now that’s what I call a pay cut.
UPDATE: (3/26/12) The Lakers are hoping that the PG upgrade of Ramon Sessions (acquired at the deadline) will help solve their road woes. The team recently lost at Houston despite leading by 12 in the 4th quarter. The team then responded the following night by winning comfortably at Dallas.
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