The high expectations for the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to take a toll on the team, both physically and mentally. Traveling to Toronto to take on the Raptors Sunday afternoon, the Lakers revealed just how fragile they truly are.
Dwight Howard let his frustration get the better of him on multiple occasions. He received a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing a call and was tossed after getting tangled with Alan Anderson near the end of the half.
Personally, I don’t agree with the call. Anderson seemed to cut off Howard, whether intentional or not is up for debate. Either way, Dwight gave the official all that was needed to end his day early. He finished with 5 points in 17 minutes.
The Lakers went on to lose 108-103, dropping their fifth consecutive road game. They now stand at 17-23 on the season.
Kobe Bryant has not been shooting well, as of late, and today’s game was no different.
He finished with 26 points, shooting 10-32, including 3-12 from deep. The Lakers aren’t going to win many games with a performance like that.
Overall, the offense looked stagnant, providing only glimpses of the basketball Los Angeles is used to seeing. On the other end, the same problems continued to show, including lazy defense and a lack of communication leading to open looks for Toronto.
In Howard’s absence, Pau Gasol scored 25 points and showed he’s still up for the challenge as the lone big man. If he will continue to provide as a member of the Lakers, however, is yet to be seen.
Earl Clark played well, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Steve Nash also did his part, contributing 16 points and dishing out 9 assists.
For the Raptors, Jose Calderon scored 22 points, along with 9 assists and Landry Fields added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
With 1:35 left in the game, Bryant hit a three to cut the lead to 6, but a second opportunity on the offensive end gave Amir Johnson an easy lay-up. That sealed the deal and ended the night for Los Angeles.
Today’s game began a three game road trip for the Lakers. Next up is the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, followed by a match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Coach Mike D’Antoni needs to find a solution to the Laker’s current problems. It is obvious the answer is not an increase in Kobe’s shot attempts. This type of workload can’t last all season for Bryant, and something has to give. Hopefully that won’t be Kobe’s health. At 34 years old, he cannot be expected to carry the team on a constant basis. Someone will need to step up and give him a hand.
The question is, who will it be?