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Lakers vulnerable from minute overload

November 22, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Antawn Jamison has struggled to make an impact this season.
Antawn Jamison has struggled to make an impact this season. (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)

The Lakers fell back to .500, losing to the Sacramento Kings 113-97. After a 1-4 start, the team may have improved but still there's no road win to show for it.

In three attempts, the Lakers are winless away from Staples. Two were on the second night of back-to-backs, including Wednesday's loss to the Kings. The third was in the thin air of Utah.

The Lakers didn't play well in Portland, Utah and Sacramento, that's a given. Fingers can be pointed at players, coach, effort or any number of factors.

The core problem the Lakers have is that they are overly reliant on four players. Pau Gasol is playing a team-high 37.3 minutes per game. Kobe Bryant is next at 36.8, followed by Dwight Howard (36.6) and Metta World Peace (34.8).

In comparison, the Clippers play Chris Paul 33.8 minutes, Blake Griffin 32.8, Jamal Crawford 28.4 and DeAndre Jordan 26.6.

The four Lakers are an approximate average age of 31.5 playing 36.4 minutes a night compared with the Clippers "kids" of 26.5 playing 30.4 minutes.

The issue is quality depth, which the Clippers boast as a strength.

The math will improve when Steve Nash and Steve Blake return from injuries, but in the meantime the Lakers are going to struggle, especially on the second night of back-to-backs, which is naturally rougher on older, tired legs.

The Lakers let down in Sacramento but what may be more concerning is the minutes that led to the defeat.

Nash and Blake will help, but are they going to be able to spell Gasol and Howard? Those two struggled the most against the Kings while Bryant put up 38 and World Peace scored 13 points on 10 shots.

Jordan Hill seems to be a diminishing return, great energy but questionable skill. Antawn Jamison just hasn't arrived just yet.

Perhaps D'Antoni's system, driven by Nash, will change all that.

If not, the Lakers have a depth gap up front that may be a long-term problem.


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You can email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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