The Lakers are having problems this season -- that's not news with their 17-24 mark halfway through the season.
Coach Mike D'Antoni has opted to move Pau Gasol, against his will, to the bench. Monday night, Gasol was productive against the Chicago Bulls in a reserve role, scoring 15 points with 12 rebounds.
The game's result (95-83 Chicago) emphasized what's really wrong with the Lakers this season. With the score tied at 69 after three quarters, the Bulls went on to out-score the Lakers by 12 in the final quarter.
The issue isn't how the Lakers start games or halves but how they finish.
The Lakers can't close out games. They can't get defensive stops when they need them. They don't seem to hit the crucial basket or free throw. They turn the ball over at the most inopportune moments.