May 26, 2009

What’s wrong with the Lakers?

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

If I had to point out the one reason why the Lakers were struggling this series against Denver, I couldn’t. Why? Because there’s not just one thing that’s doing them in. But, if I had to, I’d have to boil it down to a few key things: Their poor defence, their horrid free throw shooting and their overall lack of heart.

Sure, the last one isn’t very quantifiable, but it doesn’t take a very intelligent basketball fan to notice that L.A. was coasting at times last night. There just wasn’t a killer instinct like they demonstrated in their previous comeback victories. They have heart, but they just have to show it more often.

Seriously, I don’t know how any team who made the conference finals could be this horrible at shooting free throws. Entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers were shooting 56% from the line (they did improve to 68% by the game’s end). That’s just not acceptable if you want to win in this league against a quality team like Denver. Free throw should be just as the name indicates: A free bucket. It shouldn’t be an adventure that costs you a winnable game.

Finally, I don’t what is up with the Lakers defence. I will credit Denver’s offence because we all knew it was strong going in, but L.A. has really struggled to even look like they’re trying to stop cuts, dishes and easy baskets. Really, how many times can Nene and the Birdman take a clean dish and slam one home this series? It’s a nightly staple of highlight shows now. Take a look at last night’s boxscore and you’ll find that the only Laker that wasn’t a minus in the +/- category was DJ Mbenga, who played a whopping one minute.

L.A. has a lot to work on before Game 5 and seriously, I see this series slipping away from the Lakers. Looks like Kobe-LeBron just isn’t going to happen.

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