Is there any team as frustrating as the Lakers?
Is there any team that willingly goes away from its strengths and keeps shooting itself in the foot? I’m hard pressed to think of one.
The Lakers did it again Tuesday night. That is why they lost to Dallas 96-94, why they are down 1-0 in their best of seven second round series.
It’s not the end of the season — the Lakers were down 1-0 in the first round but went on to win in six. But Dallas is a team of sharp jump shooters that will make the Lakers pay more dearly for their lapses than the Hornets.
This was not about Kobe Bryant's missed three pointer to win it at the end (it was a good look, just didn’t fall). It wasn’t about the questionable calls that didn’t go the Lakers way at the end. It wasn’t completely about the bad Lakers execution the last two minutes of the game.
The Lakers lost this one earlier — remember they were up 16 early in the third quarter. They got it by working the ball inside, creating turnovers and getting some points in transition. The Lakers went up 16 on a Kobe three that felt like a dagger to the gut of the Mavericks just a couple minutes into the third.
Then the Lakers kept looking for more daggers in the form of long jumpers, rather than going with what worked inside. The numbers tell the story — the Lakers shot 17-for-26 at rim, 19-for-58 elsewhere.
Phil Jackson was very much in “the Lakers blew it” camp.
“We went in the locker room and we gave it away,” he said post game. “I’m not sure Dallas didn’t outplay us, but I just felt like we gave it away. A couple misplays on the offensive end and the foul at the end (by Gasol) to put them on the line kind of makes it difficult to win those kind of games.”
The Lakers have adjustments they can make, things they know they should do. The Mavericks as a team fall in love with the three pointer if you keep them out of the paint. They will settle for jumpers, if you contest those jumpers they’ll miss enough for you to win. The fact the Mavericks hit 9-of-20 (45%) from three tells you just how little the Lakers contested.
It would be very Lakers-like to come out next game and own it. To dominate and not make the mental lapses. For a night But they will need to cut down on those in this series because Dallas can shoot the rock as a team. Take a night off and you pay the price. See Game 1 for evidence.