On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers told the same tired story. They were sloppy with the ball early, dug a deep hole by the half, nearly climbed all the way back, but ultimately fell short.
After the game, Coach Mike D’Antoni summed up his team’s performance in four short words: "That’s not good enough."
In the first quarter, the Lakers carelessly turned the ball over eight times and trailed by 6 points despite shooting 60 percent from the field. At this point, Lakers fans felt an uneasy pain in their stomachs that translated to obscenities out of their mouths.
Then, the second quarter came around, and the Lakers refused to play any defense or exert any energy. Cavs’ second-year guard Kyrie Erving scored 7 points and passed off four assists in the one-sided period. Lakers fans took the halftime break to perform some deep-breathing exercises and reflect on what was going on.
Over the past three games, the Lakers have been outscored by a net 35 points in second quarters. By the time halftime rolled around in Cleveland, the Lakers were down by 15 points. They had committed 13 turnovers, and the Cavs scored 19 points off those first half turnovers. If that wasn’t enough, the Lakers missed 10 foul shots and had no points off turnovers in the first half.
It bears to keep in mind that the Cavs were 4-17 entering Tuesday’s game and had lost five games in a row.
Consequently, the Lakers were able exit the locker room and cut the lead to only three points in the third quarter. However, the Lakers never took the lead and continued to falter on the defensive end. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers allowed 32 points after only allowing 14 points in the third quarter.
The Lakers lost the game by committing too many turnovers, missing too many free throws, not maintaining a consistent defensive effort, and failing to share the ball.
Kobe Bryant got his 115th career 40-point game and shot 16-28 from the field. He led the team with 42 points and shot the best percentage of any Laker from the field. He also led the team with five turnovers and only managed two assists in 41 minutes.
Shockingly, Dwight Howard led the Lakers with three assists, and the entire team only tallied 11 assists. Kyrie Irving on the Cavaliers had 11 assists on his own, illustrating the lack of offensive ball movement and execution by the Lakers.
The Lakers don’t just have defensive problems or offensive problems; they just have problems.