We all know that a win in the preseason is as meaningless as a timeout in the All-Star Game. Players are being shuffled in and out (mainly, out) while new plays are being tossed around even faster. Unless the average age of your NBA team is 23, there is little gained by winning an exhibition game.
The Lakers are 0-4 halfway through their preseason schedule, an understandable occurrence given the fact that Mike Brown’s main objective is trying every combination imaginable to set his rotation for the season opener. Add to this that Dwight Howard has yet to play a game while both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol have each missed a contest themselves.
Last night the Lakers lost their second game in a row to the Utah Jazz in Southern California…114-80. Steve Nash only played one quarter of basketball, which explains another high tally of turnovers for the Lakers. Bryant, who played big minutes, eventually took matters in his own hands as the deficit ballooned to over 30 points. He scored all but one of the team’s 24 points in the 3rd quarter.
Losing back to back games versus a team, any team, is rare. In the NBA, that’s usually a guaranteed win…especially in the preseason. Just ask the Clippers and Heat who exchanged blowout victories in China last week. It’s human nature that the team that lost the first contest will bring some added juice to the second one. You could take any 5 guys down at your local Rec Ctr and they’d be favored to win the second of a back-to-back.
The Lakers injuries and juggling of different lineups explains the high number of turnovers for so far…but what about the transition defense? It has been one of the worst we’ve seen so far this preseason.
The Lakers need to start building some synergy before October 30th. Even if they don’t have all of their guys, it’s a mindset. Good teams execute the gameplan and work together regardless of who is out there. In short, they need to take better shots and hustle back on defense. That goes for every one on the roster not named Somogyi or Aguilar.
Dwight Howard or no Dwight Howard, the team would’ve been without their starting center even without the big trade. Andrew Bynum has yet to play a game, himself, this preseason and the 76ers still have gone out and competed hard.
The Lakers have a lot of home games early on in the regular season, an annual occurrence out at Staples. They need to capitalize on this advantage seeing that they have a lot of older legs in the rotation (Nash, Bryant, Jamison, and World Peace). The younger Oklahoma City Thunder are bound to hit the ground running in November.
I don’t care about the names on the back of the jerseys, the Lakers need to start building synergy with whomever is out there wearing the purp n’ yellow. It’s not the losses that are troubling, it’s the way they’re losing.
Steve Nash said after the blowout to Utah: “we’ve got our work cut out for us…but it’s still really, really early.”
Yeah, but in the wild Western Conference it gets really, really late…fast.
UPDATE: (10/26/12) The Lakers finish the preseason winless at 0-8, with multiple losses to both the Kings and Jazz. Adding injury to insult, Kobe Bryant has a sprained foot and may miss opening night.