This was the game that made me realize the Lakers are not going to make the play-offs this year.
Earlier in the day, the team had its big, behind-closed-door meetings. Players apparently spoke their minds, got some things off their chests, etc. Then they spent an extra hour at shoot-around today.
Then the Lakers came out and laid an egg. Some of the low-lights included being out-rebounded 52-34, and being outscored in the paint 60-34.
Perhaps the lowest of the low-lights was that Memphis had 96 field goal attempts compared with only 73 for the Lakers.
Think about that. It’s amazing the Lakers lost by only 13, given that they allowed the Grizzlies to take 23 more shots than they took.
The Lakers were led tonight by Kobe Bryant, who scored 29 points on 11 of 23 shooting. His support tonight ranged from mediocre to downright terrible.
Steve Nash had his worst game since returning from injury (7 points, 8 assists, and 6 turnovers), but his star shone brighter than Dwight Howard’s, who recorded only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play, before leaving the game with a re-aggravated shoulder injury.
Howard did not return to the game. Lakers fans are divided on whether that helped or hurt the team.
Of course the Lakers could still make the play-offs – obviously it’s still possible. But I don’t believe they will. They are not showing any signs of getting better.
One final thought for the night: In each of the Lakers’ 42 games this year, their opponent has been completely pumped up to play them, and in the 25 games the opponent has won, they have celebrated joyously in victory.
Tonight, the 27-14 Memphis Grizzlies, playing at home, were euphoric on the sidelines and on the court as they put the Lakers away in the fourth quarter, almost as though they had vanquished a play-off opponent and were advancing to the next round.
The Lakers, even though they are a very bad team at 17-25, still have a big target on their chests, and it is not making things any easier for them this season.
Lakers’ Player of the Game
Kobe Bryant receives the honor tonight, as he was the only Laker who had anything going at all. He started off hot, then cooled off considerably, but still finished with 29 points on a respectable 11 of 23 shooting. He added three rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“Tonight has to be the night. Lakers had their big team meeting, said what they wanted to say. The result tonight will decide their season.” – @SteveNashChroni, pre-game tweet
“The problem with the Lakers is… everything. That’s not a revelation of any sort, but pinning it on D12, Pau, Kobe, MDA, etc is wrong.” – @DrewGarrisonSBN
Friday, January 25 vs. the Utah Jazz, 7:30 p.m. PST