The Los Angeles Lakers played an OK game of basketball tonight, at least by the standards against which the team can currently be measured. They shot close to their season average from the floor, and made an OK percentage of their three point shots. They even managed to win the battle on the glass, out rebounding their opponent, the Dallas Mavericks 46-40. They tried hard, insomuch as a team that gives up a steady dose of layups in half court sets can be said to try hard. They didn't play great, but they played OK.
Trouble is, right now an OK game means getting beat by double digits against even a mediocre opponent. With five of their best play-makers still out injured, the Lakers just don't have a lot to offer, and an OK game will end up being a defeat nine times out of ten, especially when the other team has Dirk Nowitzki on it.
Tonight's death knell came in the form of turnovers, 19 in all. Six of them came from recent addition Kendall Marshall, and you have to think that number will continue to be high as teams start to learn more about his game. Specifically, his predilection for skip passes is already starting to lead to a high number of turnovers as opponents begin to expect it, because it is always a risk to throw passes the length of the court. Still, even with his turnovers, Marshall was one of the team's bright spots, showing that his outside shooting touch and general effectiveness from the field were not were not one game flukes. His 18 points on 10 shots were easily the most efficient performance of the night.
He wasn't the only bright spot, but there weren't many more. Wes Johnson shot the ball pretty well, and Jodie Meeks scored 24 points, though it was a bit of a weird vintage performance for Jodie, as he looked a lot less under control in his forays to the rim than he has been this season, reminding us of how awful he was as a finisher last year. Still, he tried really hard, and despite shooting just 6-16 from the field, his nine free throws helped make his scoreline respectable. Pau Gasol and Robert Sacre both struggled from the field, although both managed double digit rebounding.
But, with Shawne Williams waived and so many people out, the Lakers bench is just an empty shell right now. If Nick Young is awful, as he most certainly was tonight, the bench that was so integral to the early season success has zero spark to give to the team. That's why an OK effort and an OK performance will get them beat just about every time.