The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the [Insert team here] by the final score of 113-103. The Lakers started off strong, but as has happened so many times on the second night of a back-to-back, they tired in the 2nd half and were eventually undone by a team that was quicker to loose balls, quicker up the floor and, well, just quicker. The Lakers were once again done in by too many turnovers (18), too many offensive rebounds (15) and too many points given up to a [Insert team here] team that normally struggles to score points.
I hate to do that to the Milwaukee Bucks, to take anything away from them in a game they deserved to win. But let's be honest, the team that laced up their sneakers opposite the Lakers really didn't matter tonight. We've seen this game, this exact game, probably 20 times this season. This Lakers squad is simply incapable of providing the effort necessary to win two straight NBA contests in back-to-back nights. Maybe its because they are too old. Maybe it's because they are too injured. Maybe it's because they are constantly short-handed. Probably some combination of the three, in addition to being a team that doesn't always bring the right effort even when there are no excuses for it.
This was not Kobe Bryant's finest game. He shot terribly from the field, and that fact was not particularly surprising based on the shots that he took; plenty of contested fades where he failed to create the space to make the shot worth taking. There were also at least two stationary, contested three point launches that weren't necessary, and six turnovers as well. It wasn't all bad, mind you. He did get to the line a stunning 20 times, and ended up scoring 30 points, so he wasn't at his inefficient worst. But he did settle for the wrong play a little too often on a night in which everybody else on the court was doing a fairly decent job of putting the ball in the basket. You look at the shooting of Kobe's fellow stars (6-8 for Dwight, 5-7 for Nash, 6-12 for Pau) and wonder why the ball couldn't be sent in their direction a few more times.
That's not to place the loss squarely on Kobe's shoulders, because he had plenty of help. He may have led the team with 6 turnovers, but Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both chipped in with 4 as well. The 18 total by the team (10 in the 2nd half) gave Milwaukee 30 of their 113 points, and was clearly the difference in the game. The Lakers being both terrible at avoiding turnovers and terrible in getting back to defend in transition continues to be a double edged sword, with both sides maiming the purple and gold. And when you give up 95 points in the final three quarters to a team that usually scores 98 on the season, you'll probably find yourself staring up at a deficit when that final horn sounds.
The Lakers have been staring up at that deficit a lot this season, especially in circumstances like tonight. C'est la vie. C'est la season.