The Los Angeles Lakers return to Staples Center to begin their second back-to-back of the season, taking on the other Los Angeles team, the Clippers. The Clippers happen to be in the second half of their own back-to-back, barely skidding by a Oklahoma City Thunder team without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers are in serious danger of beginning the season with four straight losses. The Clippers are a much better team, and the purple and gold then visit the Golden State Warriors on Saturday for their home opener. Considering the Warriors completely waxed the Lakers during preseason, that's not a good match up to finish out four games in five nights.
It will be interesting to see how quickly this Lakers team can adjust. Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott are both asking Jeremy Lin to be more aggressive and run the offense, but the offense doesn't seem to be doing much when he has the ball in his hands. The frustration was already bubbling to the surface on the court in Phoenix, which seems to stem from Jordan Hill not setting a screen when he was supposed to:
Whatever it takes, the Lakers' offense needs to find some fluidity. Relying on Kobe Bryant to hit insane shot after insane shot might make for some incredible highlights, but it's an unsustainable train wreck waiting to happen. Kobe is expending an incredible amount of energy to try and do something -- anything -- to find a pulse for the Lakers, and it's going to grind him down in a hurry.
The problem is there just aren't many other options on the team. Without a sophisticated attack based on pick-and-rolls, there's a lack of easy baskets and open looks for Los Angeles. The lack of talent on this team needs easy looks, and they aren't finding any. The dribble hand-offs don't lead to much, and the three-point shooting differential is something even Byron Scott is publicly acknowledging.
This team is going to have to shift gears to get better, but right now it's hard to see how that happens without the personnel to make it all work. It'll be a tough outing against Lob City, followed by an even tougher game against the Warriors.
Thanks for making the Lakers' schedule so tough to start the season, Kobe.