State of the Lakers: Still underachieving
NOV 22, 2012 9:57p ET
Bryant, the league's leading scorer, had 38 in the loss to Sacramento, shooting 11 for 20 from the field. If anyone has turned back the clock and become the player he was a decade ago, it's Kobe, who has taken on ball handling duties since Nash fractured his leg.
Who's Not: Pau Gasol. For a four-time All-Star, he's seen his game regress over the past couple of seasons. He continues to average a career-low 14 ppg and is rebounding under double figures at 9.5. He's way too talented to keep performing like that.
1. The acquisition of Antawn Jamison is beginning to look like one of Kupchak's few mistakes lately. He seems totally out of sync with the rest of the team and has yet to have a double-figure scoring game. That's frightening for a 19.5 ppg scorer in the first 14 years of his career. Got to wonder if he's hiding an injury. Truly great scorers don't usually forget how to score.
2. World Peace was ecstatic that Brooklyn's Reggie Evans – the former Clipper reserve – was the first NBA player fined $5,000 for violation of the new "No Flopping" rule. I think MWP is completely wrong about this rule change. It's a silly edict from David Stern and the owners. Any player who is willing to take a hit on a charge or throw himself to the hard wooden court in order to help his team get possession of the ball should be commended, not penalized. It's a great tactical move. And if the players aren't savvy enough to avoid the deke and the refs aren't aware enough to see when a player is going down like a WWE wrestler instead of a real charging foul, that's on them. And MWP, just so you know, your buddy Derek Fisher was known as one of the league's most "talented' floppers.
3. Even if they hadn't gotten Howard in the deal, how happy are the Lakers that they no longer have to deal with Andrew Bynum, his injuries and his attitude problems? I'd say very, especially considering that he might miss the rest of the season with knee problems. Meaning as a free agent in July, he may never play a game in a Philadelphia uniform.
Quotes of the Week
"If we're going to play Showtime, my God, they just closed the whole theater on us."
- Lakers' head coach Mike D'Antoni after the 113-97 loss to Sacramento.
- Lakers' forward Metta World Peace when told Nets' reserve Reggie Evans had been fined following a now-banned flop against the Lakers Tuesday night.
"It's not always the coach's fault. Mike Brown is a great coach. Sometimes there's just a disconnect."
- NBA TV analyst and former NBA guard Greg Anthony talking about the Lakers' 1-4 start.
News and Notes
- Nash will be examined again over the weekend and an update will be given — possibly Friday night — on the length of his recovery. He's been out since October 31 with a small non-displaced fracture in his left leg. He's been working out vigorously at practice, doing everything except working with the team.
- The ankle Bryant hurt in training camp is starting to bother him again. He wrote on his Facebook page that he's had to get up in the middle of the night recently to ice the right foot and ankle because of the pain.
- D'Antoni has apparently decided which assistant coaches he'll rely on most during game. Sitting next to him the past couple of games has been his brother, Dan, Chuck Person and Steve Clifford. In the row behind him are Darvin Ham, Bernie Bickerstaff, Eddie Jordan. Previously, Bickerstaff had been Brown's top "bench coach" before taking over as interim coach when Brown was fired.
Friday at Memphis, Saturday at Dallas, Tuesday vs. Indiana.
The Grizzlies are tied with the Knicks for the NBA's best record, and the Lakers will be embarrassed if they play the type of game they did in Sacramento. Memphis is averaging over 100 points per game and has the seventh-best defense in the league, giving up just 92.6 points. They are 4-0 at the Fed Ex Forum, with wins over Miami and New York. The Lakers are winless on the road at 0-3. If this edition of the Lakers needs a signature victory, Friday night in Memphis would be a good one.
Tower of Power?
Not until they develop consistency in their overall play.