Kobe Bryant is taking too many shots and Steve Blake is missing too many. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Lakers are a shell of their championship selves.
By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
What has happened to the Lakers? This is pretty much the same team that won the title last year, and mostly the same team that won the title the year before. Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic, D.J. Mbenga and Adam Morrison could not have been that much of a factor. And the additions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake were supposed to make this team better. This team is not close to being what they were the past two seasons, and they do not even look like a playoff team right now. They lost by an average of 17.2 points per game in losses against Milwaukee, Miami, San Antonio, and Memphis. Two of these teams will not be making the playoffs this year. This Lakers team is not even competing, and they are falling further and further behind San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the West. At this point, it does not even look like the Lakers are going to try to catch them. The Lakers have much bigger problems than chasing the Spurs. Kobe Bryant is shooting the ball way too much, in part, because he believes that when the ball goes into the low post to Pau Gasol, he isn’t doing much with it. In Gasol’s defense, Bryant is shooting the ball too much, but in Bryant’s defense, Gasol isn’t doing much with it when he gets it. So when the team gets down Bryant takes it upon himself to bring them back, which is not a good thing. Throw some blame Ron Artest’s way. So what if he gives the team nothing on offense, he’s there for defensive purposes. Well this year he’s not even doing that. At this point it looks like they need to put Barnes into the starting line up. The 3-point shooting has been down since the beginning of the season, but they continue to chuck the ball up from behind the arch. In November the Lakers shot 41% from three-point range. Last month they dropped to 31%. Blake, their shooter, has been in a shooting slump as well. In November he made 41.7% of his shots, including 47.8% from three-point range. Last month he shot 33.3% from the field and only 31.8% from three-point range. With poor shooting across the board, and the team’s nonchalant attitude, it’s not surprising that Bryant is trying to take over games and do it all by himself, which does not lead to wins. It’s time to be extremely nervous if you’re a Lakers fan. Unless the Lakers are taking the approach that the Boston Celtics took last year. The Celtics cruised through the season on purpose to make sure that they were at full strength come playoff time. Even though they gave up home court advantage in the final three rounds of the playoffs, they were right there in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers. If that’s the game the Lakers are playing, it’s a dangerous one. Over the past three post seasons the Lakers have won all of the series where they had home court advantage, but they lost the only series that they did have it.
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