This team confounds me: how can the Lakers, with 2 former Defensive Players of the Year, be this porous on defense? How can a team that had a better shooting percentage, more rebounds, and more free throws still lose to the Denver Nuggets?
Anyone can write about their offense and how their shooting can seem out of sync sometimes, but it comes to actually winning games, their defense just isn't coming up when it needs to. Many of the close loses come from the defense not being able to make stops in crunch time. Take a look at the Clippers game. As soon as the Lakers bridge the gap to keep the game close, the defense springs a leak and allows for the opposing team to close out the game for a victory. Say what you want about Kobe taking alot of shots in the 4th quarter, but if no one wants to take a shot, then you know damn well that it'll be Kobe the one taking them. Bringing up Chemistry? Chemistry has nothing to do with boxing out your man.
This has been the case since the season started. Not Gasol trying to fit into any system; It was clear after tonight's game against Denver that he can still do damage in the low post. Not Kobe's shooting; he's the one person who can will this team to win.
The past game is evidence of how terrible their defense has been as a whole. The Nuggets had way too many second chance points. Yes, the Lakers had the edge in rebounding, but that doesn't really show the damage that Javale Mcgee did inside. Many times in transition, the Nuggets just had fast breaks where no one even ran back to defend. Hell, the fast break points in general have been a category in which the Lakers are inferior to most of their opponents. It would be impossible to keep track of how many times the Laker defenders would just watch as a Nuggets player would fly by them to score. The defensive rotation would be so messed up that the Nuggets could just score at will. There was one point in which the Lakers were down 6 in the 4th quarter, scored 2 points, and in a mere 3 seconds allowed Ty Lawson to score 2 points on the other end.
The Purple and Gold would have more wins if they could actually be competent on defense. Every game that has come down to the wire this past season has had the same story. Kobe or Nash will hit some shots that will make it seem like the Lakers are coming back to tie or even win the game, and then the Laker defense allows someone to close it out. Against the Nuggets it was Gallinari (it was a lucky rebound from that Dwight block, but it was a good shot nonetheless) . Last game it was CP3. The game before that was Jrue Holiday.
With the Rockets, Spurs, and Thunder coming to town, don't expect the Lakers to dig themselves out of this hole anytime soon until they can put the D back in D'Antoni's name.