The L.A. Lakers won against the Clippers in a thoroughly unconvincing manner. It seems that the re-occurring problem of holding onto a lead was evident again. This time, it was a nineteen point lead that was squandered. Had Baron Davis made the last shot, a three point miss, the game would have gone into overtime.
It is baffling that the Lakers can build a lead and yet be unable to protect it. There are some reasons:
- * Sasha Vujacic continues to have production problems. In fifteen minutes of playing time, he made one three point attempt. What is noticeable is that he only took two shots. The concern with Sasha Vujacic was that he shot too frequently. Now, it is the opposite. Is this a sign that there is a confidence issue?
- * The Lakers have had problems stopping opposing guards. The difficulty continued with the Clipper guards. Fred Jones and Eric Gordon combined to score thirty four points. The defense simply has trouble with guards – from any team. This will be problematic during post season play.
- * At the free throw line, the Lakers made seventeen out of twenty nine attempts. That’s just barely over fifty eight per cent. It is a rarity but even Kobe Bryant missed two consecutive free shots. He is generally not sixty two per cent on free throws.
- * Lamar Odom continues to be a foul magnet. In this game, he and Jordan Farmar led the Lakers in personal fouls, each with four. This continues a trend in recent games where Lamar Odom finds ways to be in foul trouble.
- * The Lakers seem to play to the level of efficiency of their opponents. Against a team that is struggling and missing key players, like the Clippers, the Lakers should dominate. They don’t. Perhaps they can elevate their intensity for more formidable opponents, but that in itself is indicative of a lack of consistency. And it is a flaw that is apparent to the teams that will meet the Lakers in post season play.
One of the continuing news items for the Lakers is that Andrew Bynum will be returning soon. However, the problems that plague the L.A. Lakers will not be resolved with the return of an out-of-condition Andrew Bynum. He will offer limited help until he regains his game readiness. Meanwhile, the Lakers have five regular season games remaining to address some issues, before stumbling into the playoffs.