Laker Losing Streak Reaches Single Digit

As a matter of policy, I choose not to blame refs when my team loses. That sort of thing is for amateurs. I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't begin our review of the Los Angeles Lakers107-98 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers tonight by noting the differing frequencies with which the two teams went to the free-throw line. For every 10 field-goal attempts the Lakers took, they generated about one free-throw attempt. For every 10 Portland field-goal attempts, they shot six free throw attempts.

You might go the rest of your life without seeing a disparity that big in an NBA game.

Whether you think the refs unduly favored Portland tonight - or, alternatively, you think they whistled the game just fine - is perfectly correlated with which team you were rooting for. I won't try to change your mind one way or the other. My great hope, though, is that anyone about to post a "Lakers get all the calls!" screed on our comment boards will first pause, think about this game, delete what they've written and then type something more intelligent.

Moving from metacommentary back to actual hoops, tonight's game was an unsightly one for the Lake Show. Yeah, yeah, nine straight in the Rose Garden, I get it. But you know what? They played just as badly two nights ago at Staples against the Clips. Worse, even, when you account for location and opponent. It's not some Oregonian curse. The Lakers really do have a few problems at the moment.

One is health. As we saw only too vividly this evening, Kobe Bryant's injured finger continues to bother him. It's impairing both his handle and shooting touch: he scored 32 points tonight but on an ugly 41% True Shooting Percentage and with five turnovers. Pau Gasol's continued absence isn't doing the offense any favors, either.

I've already heard people complain that the Lakers took 28 three-point shots tonight. That actually isn't the problem, for a couple reasons. First, as a percentage of their total field-goal attempts, it isn't that far off from their normal rate. Also, they made almost 40% of their threes. To the extent the offense sputtered at times - and it was, on the whole, a good night for the O - it's because the Lakers converted only 45% of their two-point shots. If anything, they'd have been better off shooting even more threes. 

This one was lost at the free-throw line, talked about above and no doubt further in the comments, and on defense. The Blazers ripped apart the Laker D, which no longer much resembles the unit that led the league for most of this season. Our guys failed to disrupt passing lanes and mark Portland shooters. Part of it was great shooting by the Blazers, but L.A. did little to make their lives difficult.

The Lakers are now 28-8. In the loss column they're two ahead of Cleveland, which fell tonight in Denver. Next up is Milwaukee back at Staples on Sunday night.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

EFG%

TS%

Off Reb%

Def Reb%

PPP

Lakers

84

10

0.11

50

49

49

35

74

1.17

Blazers 

83

10

0.57

82

54

62

26

65

1.29

Please note: The commenting rules announced for our game thread apply to this postgame discussion as well.

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