J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks and Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers battle for a loose ball at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13, 2012 in New York City.
After Thursday night’s 116-107 loss to the New York Knicks, there is no doubting what is going on with the Lakers. Every night, this team handicaps itself with poor shooting, turnovers, missed free throws, second-chance points, or horrific defense.
Regardless of how it happens, this team finds a way to dig itself a massive hole by halftime of nearly every game.
Then, the second half rolls around, and the Lakers come out communicating on defense and active on offense. They attempt to salvage the game and avoid embarrassment. After nearly overcoming devastating deficits, the Lakers always fall just short.
In every game, they fight back close enough to give fans hope before allowing that hope to slip through their fingers in frustrating fashion. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant, a 75-percent Dwight Howard, and a skeleton team of Lakers simply lack the ability to complete the second half comeback this team requires every time out.
Every game is like Groundhog Day, and the whole routine is all too predictable.
The Lakers won’t snap out of this painful losing cycle until Steve Nash comes back. Coach Mike D’Antoni made sure of that when he took the job and acted like a broken record stuck on Nash’s return for his first two weeks in charge.
The new coach’s constant "when Steve Nash gets back" talk completely dissolved the confidence and swagger interim-coach Bernie Bickerstaff instilled in this group of Lakers after Mike Brown’s horror start to the season.
The Lakers were playing defense and winning games under Bickerstaff. Suddenly, D’Antoni came on the scene, and defense didn’t matter anymore.
D’Antoni changed the focus from win with the team now to "wait until Nash gets back," and the Lakers have looked like a team that is treating the regular season as if it were a meaningless training camp.
In the first few weeks after D’Antoni became coach, every time the Lakers struggled offensively and lost to a "lesser team," the built-in excuse about Nash offered the team a free pass. Sure, every player said the "right" words regarding a lack of effort and losing being unacceptable.
In reality, that was exactly what losing became—acceptable. After every loss, the Lakers didn’t learn from their mistakes or properly address their lack of effort or defense. Instead, they crutched onto the built-in excuse that the Lakers cannot be judged until Nash gets back.
Until Nash returns, this team is losses at home and losses on the road.
Truthfully, watching the Lakers just isn’t fun right now, and watching Bryant battle and lose every night gets old. Hopefully, Nash gets back soon, so this team runs out of excuses and either puts up or blows up.
Either way, anything is better than watching this…