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Your Los Angeles Lakers are 0-2 and look very confused

Dec 27, 2011, 6:56 AM EST

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol of Spain walk towards the bench for a time out after losing possession of the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

Stability mattered more than ever this season. Shortened training camps and just two preseason games means switching systems was going to be a challenge.

But Jim Buss was intent on wiping all traces of Phil Jackson from the Lakers, not keeping Brian Shaw and the triangle offense with a team built to run it. No, Mike Brown is in as coach with new systems on both ends of the floor. The result is confusion.

The bottom line is the Lakers are 0-2 after falling 100-91 to Sacramento Tuesday. That is two games in a row where they played poorly at the end (they blew an 11 point lead Sunday, scored on basket in the final three minutes Monday). Look at the words of Metta World Peace after the game to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

“We had two games in the preseason, and Coach (Mike Brown) is trying to figure out who he wants to start. We had Andrew (Bynum) in the preseason. One game he started Matt (Barnes), and the next game he started Devin (Embanks). Now he’s going with Devin, so now everyone has to get accustomed to a whole new look. We played two games with Andrew, and now he is out for four games. It’s normal to have a little letdown right now, especially given the circumstances that we’re under.”

The Lakers defense was not good in this one as the Kings guards were able to beat their man on the perimeter and get in the lane, and the Lakers missed Andrew Bynum to clean that up (he is serving the second game of his four-game suspension for flattening J.J. Berea in the playoffs). Tyreke Evans had 20 points and did a lot of the damage; Marcus Thornton had 27 to lead the Kings. But since the preseason the Lakers pick-and-roll defense has been bad and until they fix it they will see a steady stream of it.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were not bad, but neither was dominant either. Gasol was outworked on the glass, Kobe needed 24 shots to get his 29 points.

The Lakers long-range shooting woes continue over from seasons past as L.A. was 1-of-16 from beyond the arc. This kills their inside-out offense Mike Brown wants to install — the Kings defense collapsed on Gasol and took away driving lanes inside but never paid a price for falling back.

Where the Kings really made their runs was against a Lakers bench pressed into big minutes on the second night of the Lakers back-to-back-to-back to start the season (they lost to the Bulls on Christmas and have Utah in Los Angeles on Wednesday).

These are the nights you look at that young Kings core and think they could be special in a few years, if they all grow and mature their games together. Evans was maybe the best player on the floor, a leader, Thornton was efficient and the Kings seemed to get all their key shots to fall. We’ll see if there can be more of these nights, but if you are a Kings fan that wants to believe this is what you need to see.

For Lakers fans, it’s too early to panic. But it’s not too early to be concerned about what the ceiling is for this roster.

  1. worldbfree4me - Dec 27, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    It’s way too early to write any team off including the Lakers. They could loose 20 straight in the process of trying to gel and still make the playoffs. So, shall we dispense with the drama!

  2. ibleedaquaorange - Dec 27, 2011 at 7:09 AM

    Metal World Peace rules!

    • florida727 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Who? Oh, you mean Ron Artest. Yeah, he’s an okay player.

  3. 973yenots - Dec 27, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    Once Bynum is back to protect the basket it will come together! Like Dallas is finding out you gotta have a defense of presence under the rim

    • chargerdillon - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

      the term is “defensive presence” and yes you’re 100% right

      People talked about the Lakers because of their size with 3 7 footers in Odom, Gasol and Bynum. Guess what, there’s only one 7-footer out there.

      EVERYBODY has at least one 7-footer which means the Lakers are average like everybody else. Bring in another 7-foot “defensive presence” and suddenly the Lakers arnt average anymore.

      I hope somebody takes notice though, it’s not going to matter what the Lakers do if they do not retool for the upcoming dictatorship that is the Miami Heat. No talent is playing as ready-to-go as if they havent missed a beat from last season like the Heat. They have youth, and now they have chemistry.

      • therealhtj - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM

        I’d take a “defense of presence” at this point if I were the Lakers. It’s been pretty absent thus far especially considering Mike Brown is some supposed “defense of Guru.”

      • 973yenots - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM

        Either or stupid ass!

  4. omniusprime - Dec 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    It’s official, the new Mike Brown led Lakers suck! It’s Mike Brown who is dazed and confused as a head coach in the NBA, he should go back to coaching high school or something that doesn’t tax his minimal skills as a coach. Yeah Bynum is still MIA for two more games but it probably won’t make much difference when he comes back. A lack of effort from the Lakers can only be attributed to poor coaching. I’m glad I didn’t bother to watch the game, just saw a minute or so when the score was 85-78 and getting worse. Guess it’s time to say better luck next season. Maybe Jerry Buss will recognize his big error getting rid of Phil Jackson’s system, that he should have kept Brian Shaw for continuity’s sake. Where is the Triangle when we need it?

    • tsi4431 - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      I would agree about the coaching to a point. But under Phil Jackson, the Lakers blew plenty of 4th quarter leads. Back to basics for them, make FT’s, and take high percentage shots, the game would of ended in a “W” for the Lakers.

    • florida727 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      Not a hater, just a legit question: why is Mike Brown considered a “good coach”? I honestly know nothing about him, my own ignorance I suppose. Seems like an okay guy, but why was he brought in as Phil’s replacement when (as the article points out) they could have kept a successful system under Brian Shaw? I know Brown won in Cleveland, but he also had LeBron. Couldn’t a lot of guys racked up wins in that situation?

      • dirtydavis - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        I think his record speaks for itself. Sure he had LBJ just like Phil Had Kobe, Give the guy credit when credit is due. The Cavs were rank top 3 defense during his last three season’s in Cleveland and did it while he had a bunch scrubs…

  5. seano55 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I was at the game last night and these are the things I left with

    1) Any team is in trouble if Derek Fisher, Devin Eubanks, Troy Murphy and Luke Walton are getting significant minuets. I don’t see how the team can go the whole season with Fisher at PG and no real option behind him. Walton looked horrible and while Murphy looked decent, he is a far cry from a contributing player for a team looking to win a championship.

    2) The kings are going to put up a lot of points but they have way to many “me” players. There were many times last night where they went to their half court set and it was either 1 or no passes with a pull up jumper. Thats scary. I think the only person who should be able to get away with this is Thorton because of his high shooting percentage. If Reke sees a open lane for a drive then he should take it but his Vince Carter imitation, fade away jumper should not be a option.

    3) All the talk of Demarcus showing constraint from complaint to refs this season is officially out the window. Way to much complaining last night. But when everything is going right with him, the dude is good. Showed incredible resilience and hustle in the 4th quarter. Looked like he was having fun.

    4) Jimmer looked very hesitant.

    5) the kings are very deep. I forget what the numbers were but when I looked at the comparisons of bench points at half time the kings had around 30 while the lakers had around 6. BIG difference. The fact that the kings aren’t giving minuets to Garcia and limited minuets to Thompson is telling. The Lakers would kill to have two players like them.

    6) The kings need to work on rebound and JJ Hickson might be the worst defender I have ever seen. EVER.

    7) Overall the Kings look young and promising and the Lakers looked old, depleted and sad.

  6. chitownmatt - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Yeah, they have quite a bit to figure out…

    But seriously, after last year’s playoff meltdown did anyone really expect the Lakers to play like 2009 in the first few weeks of this season?

    Don’t be fooled, they will make the playoffs. And if they are healthy, they will make a run.

  7. dirtydavis - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    I’m not surprised at all. Lakers will bounce back at-longest they have Kobe and Gasol they will stay relevant. Lakers have the athletic swingman they just need a steady reliable PG.

    • chuckj1234 - Dec 27, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      Gasol has lost confidence. He has not been the same as he was when the Lakers first got him.

  8. dysraw1 - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    if anyone saw how A. Bynum was beasting on the clips in the preseason shouldnt be to worried about the lakers

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