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Five things to take from Lakers' 107-104 loss to Rockets

March 20, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Lakers forward Andrew Bynum, left, shoots over Houston center Marcus Camby during the first half of Tuesday's game.
Lakers forward Andrew Bynum, left, shoots over Houston center Marcus Camby… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)

1. The Lakers' offense looked horrible in their 107-104 loss Tuesday to the Houston Rockets. The first quarter featured the Lakers scoring 40 points, a whole lot of ball movement and equal production from the post and the perimeter. They shot 69%, recorded 11 assists and only committed one turnover. Finally, it looked like the Lakers found the value of playing with purpose.

But it was just a mirage.

The Lakers made five second-quarter field goals. The last three quarters featured more isolation sets than actual ball movement. They ended up with 13 more turnovers. The Lakers hardly appeared aggressive enough for second-chance points, losing 16-9. Ugly all across the board.

2. The Lakers defense also played poorly too.  As efficient as the Lakers looked offensively to open the game, they hardly looked disciplined on defense. They made Lakers fans suddenly nostalgic for Sasha Vujacic since he certainly wouldn't have allowed Slovenian-rival Goran Dragic to scorch the Lakers for 16 points on seven-of-13 shooting. The Lakers remained obsessed with paying Derek Fisher a tribute by hacking at Luis Scola.....but not really stopping him. The Lakers appeared lost on showing out on pick-and-rolls, allowing Courtney Lee to suddenly look effective. It's mind boggling that the Lakers' defense suddnenly collapsed. But this is a tell-tale sign that the Lakers' effort has lacked and the players aren't listening to Lakers Coach Mike Brown.

3. Andrew Bynum showed immaturity on his ejection. For as much growth as he's shown with his on-court production, Bynum still shows he lacks maturity. He earned a technical with 7:34 left in the first quarter for loudly complaing over a non-call. Bynum, who scored 16 points on seven-of-11 shooting, got T'd up again after repeatedly talking to the officials with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter.

To make matters worse, it appeared Bynum hardly cared. Before walking off the court, Bynum had a smile on his face as he high-fived teammates on the bench and fans sitting on the courtside seats. Hey, at least Bynum didn't remove his jersey or throw a clothesline on someone. But he let his team down when they needed him.

4. Kobe Bryant's shot selection was maddening. He may have dropped the mask. But his shooting woes remain the same. His 29 points on 11 of 27 shooting featured everything bad about Bryant when he goes in gunner mode. He remained fixated on embarrassing Chandler Parsons. Bryant took ill-timed shots late in the shot clock. He hardly attacked the basket. Statistically, he may have looked better than his three-of-20 effort against Utah, but he played poorly against Houston. Against the Jazz, Bryant at least attacked the basket and didn't screw up the offense.

5. Mike Brown is misusing his players. Fault the Lakers' poor execution on offense, but lots of that falls on Brown. After Bynum's ejection, Brown hardly featured Pau Gasol much in the post. Instead, he kept calling for isolation sets to give Bryant looks. The looks Gasol did receive featured more fadeaways and less postups. 

Then there's the point guard spot.

Steve Blake looked horrible against Houston, posting two points, three assists and three turnovers in 19 minutes. But Brown's refusal to keep him a starter doesn't matter as much as how he used Ramons Sessions late in the game. Sessions' 14-point effort on six-of-nine shooting in and four assists might've looked impressive when he sparked the bench and built a second-half lead. So of course it only makes sense, the Lakers went away from him when he closed the game out. 

Once Bryant checked into the lineup with 4:45 remaining, the Lakers evaporated their lead because Brown allowed him to run the offfense instead of Sessions. For all the hard work the front office put in in addressing their point guard needs, the least Brown can do is use it properly.


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