The Lakers wounds are self-inflicted.
Sure, injuries can strike any team, but that doesn’t impact the effort on defense. Or how you share the ball on offense. Or any host of things that plague the Lakers that have nothing to do with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.
Paul Millsap put it this way after he scored 24 and his Jazz beat the Lakers Sunday night.
“They did it to themselves,” Millsap said of the 9-12 Lakers. “Our defense was pretty good, but they had no ball movement and that made it easier on us just to try to load up, keep them out of the paint and let them fire up some 3s.”
Except the Lakers hit those threes — they were 15-of-28, or 53.6 percent. The Lakers got 40.9 percent of their points from three pointers.
What killed the Lakers was their inconsistent defense. Which has really been their biggest issue all season. As the brilliant Tom Ziller noted over at SBN, the Lakers actually have outscored their opponents by 65 total points this season, an average of 3.1 per game. Use that to get an expected win-loss and you’d get 13-8. Not 9-12.
Which means stat-friendly Lakers fans can say “things are bound to turn around.” But the reason they are 9-12 is the inconsistent defense, the lapses for entire games (Utah Sunday) or just a quarter (losses to Orlando and Houston). That is their self-inflicted wound. That is the end of the floor they need to fix, and that is not new coach Mike D’Antoni’s forte.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.