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Lakers done in by attack from stealth JET

Jason Terry must have a cloaking device.  He must be able to press a button and become invisible, only re-appearing when he has the ball behind the 3 point arc.  That's the only explanation I can come up with for how ridiculously open he was for most of tonight's game.  Terry took 8 three pointers, and I think 6 of them were taken without a Laker within 5 feet of him.  Some of those open shots were because Derek Fisher can't keep up with Terry around screens, but more of them were due to the Lakers simply forgetting to guard him.  In this, the entire Laker back-court was accountable.  Kobe let JET have open looks.  So did Shannon Brown.  Farmar didn't slow him down, and Fish can't slow anybody down.  Terry ended with 30 points on 20 shots, and the Mavs took what could have been a very winnable game for the Los Angeles Lakers, 101-96.

As for the rest of the game, we saw some all too familiar trends rear their ugly head.  Too many outside shots, not enough ball movement into the post.  Derek Fisher was at his worst, taking the 2nd most shots on the team (13) and hitting only 3.  One night after scoring an ultra-efficient 32 points on 19 shots, Kobe struggled with his shot en route to 20 points on 23 shots, and quite a few of those attempts were not high quality shots.  That said, to pin it on Kobe is irresponsible to the max, because he was doing his level best to distribute the ball early.  Kobe only went into gunner mode when it became clear that his teammates were counting on it.  All of them except Lamar Odom, who played a terrific game on both sides of the ball.

Once again, the Lakers were also out-physical-ed by a much smaller opponent.  The Mavericks out-rebounded the Lakers by 5, including a 6 board edge on the offensive end, despite their 3rd big being Eduardo NajeraPau Gasol routinely lost rebounds to more active Dallas players, finishing with 6 on the night.  Bynum was good on the boards, but he didn't play too much (29 minutes), probably because he had 5 turnovers as he repeatedly attacked Brendan Haywood like a dog attacks a glass door.  Um Drew ... he's big too.  The Mavs' physical play was clearly in the heads of the Lakers too, because the Lakers were complaining about fouls all night long.  I'll admit, it certainly felt like the whistles (or lack thereof) were unfriendly, but once again the Lakers showed that a bad night from the black and white hurts them more than it should.

For me though, the most troubling trend to show itself tonight was the return of the crappy back up back-court.  Jordan Farmar wasn't horrible, he actually provided a decent spark in the 2nd quarter, but nothing else about his evening was memorable.  The only thing I can remember about Shannon Brown's evening was an awful stretch where he knew he was coming out of the game (because Fisher was at the scorer's table), so he proceeded to launch a pull up 3 with 18 seconds on the shot clock, and then jumped out of bounds to save a ball that was clearly off Dallas, only to throw it to Dirk Nowitzki, leading to a foul on Pau Gasol.  All you need to know about these two players is that Phil Jackson felt the need to bring back BOTH Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher for the last 10 minutes of the game.  I don't know what it is about Kobe being back that has made these two revert back to the bad versions of themselves, but I do know that their poor play gives PJ the unenviable choice of which crappy guard to play alongside Kobe down the stretch.  Both Brown and Farmar played terrifically in Kobe's absence, but that doesn't help the Lakers' title hopes much.  We need Kobe more than we need the backups, but what we really need is all of them playing well.

I'd like to tell you we won't be inundated with too many "Does Kobe make the Lakers worse" articles, but there's no denying the team has not played as well with him as they did in the 5 games without him, and somebody's going to go there simply to be provocative.  Because, you know, it's Kobe's fault that the rest of his team seems to think it's OK not to play with full focus because he'll just bail them out.











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