Caron Butler strips the ball from Kobe Bryant as Bryant goes to the basket. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers made a fairly good showing against the Clippers on Friday night in a 105-95 defeat.
Given how much of a struggle it's been for the Lakers so far, it was a stretch that they'd beat the Clippers without starting point guard Steve Nash.
The absence of Nash, who suffered a lower-leg contusion in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, left the Lakers with minimal depth. Certainly the franchise has quantity at the position but the drop-off from Nash to Steve Blake, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon is quite significant.
Coach Mike Brown gave Morris the reserve minutes behind Blake, leaving Duhon as a DNP-CS (Did Not Play-Coaches Decision).
Once again the Lakers shot well from the field but gave away a lot of points on turnovers.
With Dwight Howard rusty after six months off for back surgery, Kobe Bryant pushing through a foot injury and Nash out with the bruised leg, it's unfortunate timing for the Lakers to be the only team in the league that's played three games in the first four days of the season.
Be it the new players, the new offense or health, the Lakers aren't close to what they will be in a couple of months. That doesn't exactly make the present any easier to deal with.
“You always take a step back when you lose, I don’t really believe in moral victories," said Bryant. "Defensively we were pretty solid, but you let a team get nine offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points, I’m having a hard time believing how that’s possible.”
The Lakers rank in the top three in the league in field-goal percentage (49.8%) and turnovers (19.7) per game.
Can the team afford to lose games while they fix what's broken?
“It’s particularly hard for me because I’m not the most patient individual in the world, but you have to be," Bryant said. "You have to be. You have to stay persistent. You have to stay committed to what you’re doing and just keep on trucking.”
So far the team has been supportive of Brown's message. But how long before the players start to lose faith in what he's trying to achieve?
“I’m not trying to fool anybody here, we do need a win and we hope that we could have gotten one tonight," Brown said after the game Friday night. "That’s part of the reason why Kobe played the minutes he played, which is too many; but while we’re trying to get this win, we still got to do things right. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough to get a win if we’re averaging 23 turnovers a game."
The Lakers host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night in Game 4 of the season.
Analyst Kurt Rambis sees virtue in Lakers offense, Part I
Analyst Kurt Rambis sees virtue in Lakers offense, Part II
Lakers lose to Clippers, 105-95, to fall to 0-3 this season
You can email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.