I tweeted earlier tonight that watching Kobe Bryant in Madison Square Garden is like pizza--even when it's bad, it's still pretty damn good.
Without the Black Mamba suiting up? It's not pizza. It's a soggy calzone. The worst soggy calzone you've ever had.
The Lakers fell to a suddenly resurgent Knicks team today, losing 110-103 in the NBA's first "Sunday Showcase" game of the year. Unfortunately for LA, the only thing they showcased was just how bad the Show's defense truly is.The Lakers yielded yet another 50-plus field goal percentage, allowing the Knicks to shoot 52%, including a 35 point night from Carmelo Anthony. The performance came on the heels of a 62 point game from Melo, showing that that historic game was indeed a launching pad for a New York squad that's been spiraling as of late. Well, until the Bobcats and Lakers came to town.
Other than that? It's a broken record. I could cut and paste any recap from the past thirty games: the Lakers got severely outrebounded, especially on the offensive end, and allowed a point guard with any sort of guile destroy them for a huge scoring night (Raymond Felton with 20 points on just 10 shots). LA stuck with them until late in the fourth quarter with, what else, effort and grit. However, the offensive talent of the Knicks eventually closed out the non-existent defense of the Lakers, sealing a victory that sends the Lakers to the sixth worst record in the NBA and a virtual tie for worst in the Western Conference.
With no Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks picked up the scoring slack, stringing together yet another game in a long row of hot offensive nights for the two. The big surprise was 10-day pick-up Manny Harris, who scored 18 points in 19 minutes against a similarly terrible Knicks defense. Still, as good as the three were, it was nothing like a night at the Garden with Kobe Bryant breaking records and bringing the crowd to its feet. Quite frankly, it was a rather boring affair between two of the league's worst teams. More than anything, that's the saddest sign of this season: the Lakers are just not even entertaining anymore.
Thus ends the annual Grammy Road trip, with the team ending the seven game journey with a 2-5 record. They've spiraled down in the standings, with several non-committal comments regarding returns for Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar, Steve Nash and Steve Blake.
If today's loss against one of the worst home teams in the entire league in a listless defensive performance didn't seal it, let me spell it out for you: the Lakers are truly one of, if not the least talented squad in the NBA.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino