Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits behind the bench during play against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on November 5, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The Lakers' bench has been outperforming the Lakers' starters this season.
In both road games this season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been embarrassed. Two games may be a small sample size, but the trends displayed thus far are alarming.
For starters, the starters are failing to turn up on the road. In both road losses, the Lakers’ bench outscored the Lakers’ starters. Against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, only one starter reached double figures in points—Pau Gasol scored 10 points. The lack of production from the first unit has already resulted in Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni shaking up the lineup once.
After Tuesday’s blowout loss, D’Antoni sounded like he would consider changing the Lakers’ lineup ahead of Thursday’s game against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.
Possibly the most alarming trend of the two road losses this season is the Lakers defense—or lack thereof. Against the Warriors, the LA allowed 125 points. Against the Mavericks, that number was 123. Consistently allowing their opponent to shoot over 50 percent for the field is a recipe for disaster.
Returning to the issue of starters, the Lakers found themselves trailing by double digits in the first quarter of both road losses. At Golden State, LA trailed by as many as 12 points within the first 12 minutes. At Dallas, the Mavericks’ largest first quarter lead was 15 points. Digging an early hole is an easy way to get blown out. As a road team, the Lakers have failed to display any fight this season.
Sometimes, being consistent is not a good thing. The Lakers are consistently terrible on the road. With a back-to-back in Houston and New Orleans coming up, the Lakers will hope to break these alarming trends and pick up some wins. Otherwise, it will be a long season in Laker land.