Amidst a perceived Laker turnaround following wins in six of their last seven games, LA loses Pau Gasol for 6-8 weeks and the Celtics thump them in Boston. Although the final score read 116-95, the game was by no means that close, harkening back memories of the Memorial Day Massacre in Boston during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Hopefully, these Lakers can bounce back in the same manner.
Without Pau to serve as an additional playmaker, helping to move the ball within the offense, the Lakers dropped the ball into Dwight early. After drawing quick PFs on KG, the Lakers looked to capitalize on FTs as they were in the bonus at the 9:52 mark. A horrendous 5-12, finishing at 60% from the charity stripe for the game, eliminated that 1st quarter gift of an advantage. At 29thin the league in FT%, the Lakers could not make up the difference with their free looks and they fell behind by 4.
A string of misses near the end of the 2nd quarter summed up the Lakers fortunes from behind the arc for the evening. Down 56-42, Meeks missed a three and salvaged the possession with an o’board. Kobe went right back to him with the same result, a clank off of the rim. So, Kobe grabbed the o’board and found Nash open for three. Brick. The ball bounced around and ended up back in the hands of Meeks, who gave a look from distance one more try. Nada, an expected outcome considering they finished the game at 21% from deep.
The bottom fell out in the 3rd as the C’s only missed 5 of their 21 shots in the quarter, exploding for a 28-3 run, to create a 26-point chasm. Boston sandwiched two separate stretches of draining seven shots in a row, as the Lakers, in the words of the late, great Chick Hearn, “…couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean.” Kobe tried valiantly to keep the Lakers in the game with 27 points, but failed to register a single assist. How could he as the rest of the team combined to shoot 38% from the field?
Mike D’Antoni added to the Hollywood drama by inserting Dwight back into the lineup to start the 4th. Despite the deficit, ballooning to 32 at its peak, MDA decided to get Dwight some run to help him on his road to recovery, as well as position the Lakers to close out this road trip on a positive. Chancing another complication in Dwight’s injury-plagued season might seem excessive in any other case than this. D’Antoni could have easily let Robert Sacre gain some much-needed experience with an extended run, but he felt compelled to advance shaking the rust off of his starting center’s game.
As the Lakers hover at 3.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the 8th seed in the West, they must make another offensive overhaul on the fly. Luckily, they can gain some ground on the 8th or 9th spot as the Rockets and Trailblazers square off in Houston as they visit the Bobcats. Even though 11-37 Charlotte battles for the most Ping-Pong balls at the 2013 Draft, they by no means represents a sure thing, playing the Lakers to a 5-2 record at home. Their other meeting of the season on December 18th was a kind roll away from another Lakers’ loss to a team with a worse record. The Bobcats barely missed a flurry of attempts up to the buzzer to lose by one. At 23-27, LA must also defeat a 32-14 Miami in South Beach to end the Grammy road trip at 5-2 before heading back home to salvage any hope of a .500 record at the All Star Break.