Lakers' porous defense leaves them winless
NOV 01, 2012 12:55a ET
Well, he's right. It is timing. And the Lakers' timing stinks right now. It has nothing to do with the massive collection of turnovers so far in the first two regular-season games—39 giveaways for 45 opposition points. It's the timing of the losses—the first two real contests after eight exhibition defeats. Nothing like leaving your fanbase distressed so early in a season that was full of promise.
• Certainly a pair of losses at the beginning of a long season is nothing to worry about; they started off 0-2 last season before winning 41 of their final 64. It's the way they've gone about losing—poor defense, a mere 13 total fast break points and miserable play from a supposedly improved bench.
• The reserves accounted for 17 points in Tuesday night's opening loss at Staples Center; just 15 in Portland on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.
• Antawn Jamison seems to be having the hardest time conforming to the tenets of the Princeton offense. After averaging 19.5 points per game during his 14-year NBA career, he's 2 for 6 from the field for seven points—in two games and 28 minutes. He looks completely lost on both ends of the floor.
• If Jamison doesn't turn it around in a hurry, the Lakers' horrid bench of a year ago may have unfortunately found its twin. And that could very well be a death knell for a team that has one of the league's oldest starting lineups—and a injury-prone one at that.
• Steve Nash—who looks nearly as uncomfortable as Jamison—is the latest injured Laker. He banged knees with rookie Damian Lillard in the second quarter. Diagnosed with a left leg contusion, he tried to come back in the second half, but sat down for good after a short try.
• Despite the tough start to the season, the Lakers offense seems OK. The starters—minus the injured Nash who scored two points—each reached double figures in scoring. Los Angeles shot 50 percent from the field.
• Dwight Howard looked like the superstar he was before hurting his back in Orlando, scoring 33 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. And just one night after missing 11 of 14 free throws, he turned it completely around, making 15 of 19.
• Defensively, though, Howard looks like the rest of his teammates—sometimes a step slow and maddeningly content with their initial effort to stop a play, then let the opponent beat them to a rebound and get a score.
• Howard says everything that's going on right now—or, to be precise, that isn't going on right now—is something the players expected. Especially considering that the starters played together only one time in the entire preseason. “We didn't expect to just come together and be awesome,” Howard said after the game. “It's a process and we just have to stay with it so we can have a trophy at the end of the year.”
• For the record, the Princeton offense has never been the primary offense of an NBA champion.
• With Nash running the offense and being a master at creating shots for his teammates, it would seem logical to run the ball a lot more and use the pick and roll with big men like Howard and Pau Gasol to finish the plays.
• The rebuilt Blazers looked a lot better than the rebuilt Lakers. Forward Nicolas Batum led them with 26 points, while Lillard came through with 23 points and 11 assists. Bryant led both teams with thirty.
• The initial Battle of Los Angeles—2012-2013 edition—takes place at Staples Center on Friday night with the Lakers hosting the Clippers. Nash said he hopes to be ready to go against the Clippers, who beat Memphis 101-92 in their opening game Wednesday in Los Angeles.
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