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.
Last May, Magic Johnson tweeted that the Lakers chase LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan in free agency. All three players were still under contract with their teams until July 1.
In response to that apparent tampering, the Lakers announced Johnson had asked the team to remove his title of Vice President.
Too little, too late.
William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn of ESPN:
Outside the Lines learned this week — and confirmed with a senior Lakers official — that the NBA fined the team over Johnson’s communiques about players under contract to other teams.
If Drake got the Raptors fined for tampering by pitching Durant during a concert, the Lakers deserved this fine.
Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian are dating. There are mixed reports about whether they’re engaged.
No matter their exact terms of their relationship, it brings increased attention to the Cavaliers – who are already in the spotlight as LeBron James‘ team and the defending NBA champions.
LeBron might not welcome increased scrutiny.
Gabriella Ginsberg of Hollywood Life:
LeBron James hasn’t been happy that Tristan Thompson is dating drama magnet Khloe Kardashian, and we hear that the teammates had a locker room showdown before the Cavs’ home opener game.
“Tristan isn’t taking any crap from his teammates anymore. As far as he’s concerned, Khloe’s coming to every damn game she chooses,” the insider reveals. “Tristan told LeBron straight up before last night’s game that Khloe was coming and that was that.”
There’s nothing wrong with LeBron, as a friend, advising Thompson about his personal life. They share an agent, Rich Paul, and that obviously means a lot to LeBron.
But at a certain point, LeBron should back off. Neither coworkers nor friends have a right to determine who someone dates.
76ers players are unsure how to respond to their franchise blocking Sevyn Streeter from singing the national anthem because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
Justise Winslow is seemingly trying to nudge Philadelphia in a certain direction.
The Heat forward posted a photo with himself and the 76ers’ Jerami Grant raising fists and captioned it “WE MATTER”:
I’m unsure when this photo was taken, but my best guess is after the Miami-Philadelphia preseason game – which was preceded by the national-anthem singer kneeling during her performance.
Was Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha making the smart play to beat the defender or just showing off?
Either way, I’m glad he did it.