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Kyrie Irving is back and sends Lakers to new low, new loss

Dec 11, 2012, 11:34 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard is fouled by Cleveland Cavaliers Tyler Zeller during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game  in Cleveland Reuters

If you’re a Lakers fan you have to believe that at some point they reach rock bottom and start to bounce back. It’s just that they hadn’t reached it yet.

The Lakers offense took a vacation and their defense had no answer Kyrie Irving and the result of all that is the Lakers falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-94. The Lakers have dropped four of their last five and are now 9-13 on the season (this was Cleveland’s fifth win).

While there was a lot of talk about the Lakers defense — specifically how Kyrie Irving carved them up in his first game back from injury for 28 points (on 21 shots) and 11 assists — that actually wasn’t the biggest problem for a change. It wasn’t good, but it has been worse. The Lakers held the Cavaliers to 44 percent shooting as a team and just 98.6 points per 100 possessions. While the Cavs put up 100 points they weren’t efficient.

The Lakers offense was just worse.

It comes back to a matter of identity — the Lakers offense looks nothing like a Mike D’Antoni offense. Early in the game the Lakers played without tempo and spacing. They lived in the half court in the first half and most of their offense was a direct post up — throw the ball into Dwight Howard in the post and stand at the arc and watch him work (and shoot if he kicks it out). There was almost no movement off the ball.

And the Lakers big men were not getting the job done — Howard, Jordan Hill and Metta World Peace combined to shoot 9-of-27 on the night. (Howard did end with 19 points.)

What we saw from the Lakers as a whole was not ball movement and player movement, it was flashback to 1990s isolation basketball.

Which means it all fell to Kobe Bryant and he did what he could — 42 points on 16-of-28 shooting, he continues to be efficient — but it is simply not enough.

Then there was the issue of turnovers — the Lakers finished with 18 turnovers, or 19.7 percent of their possessions. Nearly one in five times down the court, the Lakers didn’t get a shot off.

Compared to that, the Cavaliers offense looked good. Of course, the Lakers defense helped with that.

Irving was back and showing his speed and ball handling, splitting double teams and getting to the rim faster than the sad Lakers rotations could cover. He carved the Lakers up all night off the pick-and-roll or in isolation. Just before the end of the first half the Lakers sent two guys to trap full court and Irving just blew past Kobe and Darius Morris, out-running them both even though Irving was dribbling. He was more athletic than the Lakers, and he was finding guys who were open for shots.

Guys like C.J. Miles — someone shooting 28.3 percent from three coming into the game (and just 32.7 percent for his career) but when he gets to set his feet and take his time he hit 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.

That was a theme much of the night, with Cavaliers shooters getting good looks. If the Lakers do that Thursday night against the hot-shooting Knicks it will get ugly fast.

This was a close game until midway through the second quarter when the Cavaliers went on a 14-2 run and took an 11-point lead. The Lakers defensive communication and help was again poor, but this was as much an offensive dead patch for the Lakers as a defensive one. And when Kobe or another Laker tried to respond, Irving had an answer.

The Lakers were never quite out of it, they got the game down to four points in the fourth quarter, but they could never fully recover from the second quarter lapse. They also never had an answer for Irving, who the Cavs missed desperately.

  1. dko83 - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Christmas just came early. Thank you Cleveland.

    • charlescub80 - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Oh no, more presents are on the way!

    • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Poor dik-ho…with nothing else in life to live for, he sits in his mommy’s basement and roots against a franchise that is light years better than the pathetic one that he roots for.

      • phaden27 - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        Your tears,
        They are delicious.

      • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:44 PM

        If you are waiting to feast on Laker fan tears, you will die of thirst. Conversely, New Yorkers have feasted on Boston baseball tears for the better part of last century…and on Boston football tears since early 2008.

      • badintent - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        No Doz , the official and mandatory med to take before Laker games. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

      • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        Sleep, little Boston crybaby.

      • dko83 - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:47 AM

        Haha, you sound mad. Also, pretty rich that you of all people commenting about nothing else in life to live for.. Things I have not done: posted under different names like a pathetic sociopath. Why do you have two honestly? Is it just to thumbs up your own comments? Keep trolling you degenerate, sad, lonely person. Just get a puppy or something..

      • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM

        Two nicknames? Sorry, Charlie…but this one is the only nickname that I have here.

      • andyhr17 - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:44 AM

        Really Bozo? “he sits in his mommy’s basement and roots against a franchise that is light years better than the pathetic one that he roots for” Look in the mirror.

      • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:50 PM

        I look in the mirror and see someone that you Puh Cs fans are totally jealous of. Sorry that you are stuck with a team that has ONE measly title in the last quarter century…and no hope for another one for the foreseeable future.

    • badintent - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:42 AM

      Kurt , try just for once to cover the Real Hoop team in LA, the Clippers.No drama , just great players playing great ball. And leave Coach Vinnie alone

      • letangusespertplus - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM

        The same LA team that lost to Cleveland too?

      • badintent - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:10 AM

        If the Clippers also lost to Cleveland, does that mean the best team in California is………………..THE WARRIORS ?? Guess so ! Sorry Coach Jeff Gundy, but Coach Jackson is doing well .. without your help

  2. clevelandschronic2 - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Glad to see Kyrie back and “Doin Work”. This kid is amazing. Great shot,insane handles, and his passing ability is iff the charts. This kid is gonna be the best PG very very soon. Glad hes on my team!

  3. andrewproughcfe - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Kyrie found a group to play against that looked (and played) older than Uncle Drew.

  4. goldmember21 - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Exactly.. Thank you Cleveland…

  5. bucrightoff - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Can we just say it already: The Lakers are not very good. Even with everyone healthy, their ceiling isn’t that high. Can they really beat San Antonio, Memphis, OKC or the Clippers? And with the hole they’re digging themselves, they might have to beat 3 of those just to get to the Finals. And age will show even more throughout the season. Somewhere Mike Brown (and Phil Jackson) are smiling.

  6. mrcuret - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    The Lakers are a bunch of scrubs. Lol I’m sure Phil Jackson’s gotta be laughing at management right now for hiring D’ Antoni over him. And it’s only gonna get worse when they face the Knicks on Thursday, I bet Carmelo Anthony will have a new career high in pts.

    • davidly - Dec 12, 2012 at 6:04 AM

      More like: Phil Jackson’s gotta be breathing a huge relief that they hired D’Antoni over him. That is, if he had really wanted the job, which I doubt.

      I am sure that both coaches are aware that if you cannot get the team to move the ball around, it doesn’t much matter whether it’s north and south, or clockwise and counter-clockwise. Just ask Mike Brown.

      • badintent - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:12 AM

        Lets ask him… nah, he ‘s too busy laughing and cashing checks !

  7. ljl2 - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    I thought this was gonna be a story about Kyrie being back when I read the headline, should have realized it was really gonna be about the Lakers. Got me again, Kurt.

    • davidly - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:57 AM

      You saying you got LakeRolled? Again? The implication being that “fool me several times” equals “That darn Kurt only writes about the Lakers?”

      I guess you missed the “and sends Lakers to new low” part, and the fact that Kurt Helin is from LA.

      • metalhead65 - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:26 AM

        he may be from la but we all know kurt is a die hard member of the heat fan club and president of the worship lebron club. he is just taking a break from them right now untill they go on a winning a winning streak and then it will be a return to heat basketball talk.com. I have to admit as a Bird celtics fan I love seeing the lakers struggle right now.

      • ljl2 - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        “and sends Lakers to new low” is still grammatically a reflection on Kyrie and would indicate it was about how his play sent the Lakers to a new low. Otherwise, it should have been titled “Lakers hit new low” and would be a more accurate representation of the article as it was about the Lakers “new low” and not about Kyrie, which as I suggested, is what the title actually suggests.

    • davidly - Dec 12, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      “and sends Lakers to new low” is still grammatically a reflection on Kyrie…

      If it were a grammatical reflection on Kyrie Irving it would have contained a reflexive verb. It doesn’t. It contains a transitive verb, placing subject and object on equal footing, when not outright transferring it all to the object.

      So, to extrapolate from the headline: we have the subject of the post, and we have the object of the post. It’s the semantics of the object–employing an evocative attribute, “new low”–which might tip one off as to where this post was headed. That and the fact that you “should have realized it was really gonna be about the Lakers”.

      • ljl2 - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        The use of “and” also works as connecting back to the previous part of the statement. The sentence was not cut off, was not separated with a comma, colon, or semi-colon, therefor the “and” creates a singular thought that necessitates both items before and after.

        Is defending Kurt really worth that much to you?

    • davidly - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:06 AM

      The use of “and” is irrelevant. The analysis of the syntax is the same: that Irving sent the Lakers somwhere. Where? Oh, yeah. To a new low. That he happened to do it after his first game back doesn’t change where the Lakers were sent, in the author’s opinion.

      Defending Kurt? How do you figure? I was telling you how you misapprehended what you were here for, which, ostensibly was to read a post about Kyrie Irving. For the record, anything you’d want to know about how Irving played in this game is in the post.

      But let’s be honest, you came here to be clever and complain about the author’s proclivity for Laker commentary. Are you aware of the situational irony in the fact that–especially coupled with the the fact that one might come to a blog to read about the NBA, only to primarily get into discussions about philology–you admit to being fooled by the use of the English language in the headline of a blog entry?

      I took the post for what it was and commented. You might notice that I didn’t agree with the “new low” assessment, feeling that came over a year and a half ago. But if you want to take that as defending a blogger I don’t know, rather than defending the virtue of accurate linguistic interpretation, so be it.

  8. magicbucs - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Orlando magic fans are smiling too…

    • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      Especially the long Lin of guys that just buttpounded magic bung tonight.

      • bozosforall - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:17 AM

        Long line, that is..a very long line.

  9. timb12 - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Just letting you guys know, Kyrie Irving is pretty good.

    • mlblogsbig3bosox - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:24 AM

      Actually, I knew that already

  10. yuckabuck - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    This site has got to back off from the Lakers. Every Single Game gets its own write up. We’re informed about who practiced today and who didn’t. Every little scrap of
    Lakers gets its own write up. Seriously, it needs to stop.

    I’m a Celtic fan, and I’m starting to miss all the Heat/Lebron articles that used to dominate this site the last two years.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Meh – like the Heat articles of 2010 and 2011, the Lakers articles of 2012 get the most page views and comments.

      So long as that keeps happening, the Lakers posts will keep coming.
      Big media market + 4 stars + drama = fan interest

      • somekat - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:48 AM

        Yep. They push the team that gets them the most site visits. If stories about the Kings and Raptors were generating as many views as stories about the Lakers, they would get more stories.

  11. mgutz - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Not a fan of Howard. I feel he’s one of the most overrated centers in history and the Lakers are trying to mold themselves around him and in the long run will pay for it especially if the Lakers get their wish and retain him. Lakers will not win a championship with Howard!

  12. londonps - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    The lakers blow, but they will find a way to be in the middle of someone’s power rankings

  13. badintent - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Coach Mike: Are those really shroons ?
    Coach Phil:You bet. Try some.
    Coach Mike: Man, I had no idea the Big Sky country had such a big Sky.
    Coach Phil. Your mind is expanding , like the universe
    Coach Mike: Is there a Buss in your universe ?
    Coach Phil:Yes but she’s the big Dipper. All the other Busses comets have gone off to the Milky Way to burn out
    Coach Brown: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. This trip is smooth. No Lakers, No D, no sh*t.

  14. mungman69 - Dec 12, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    The Lakers just aren’t very good. The fact is, they are God awful.

  15. abchome - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    The Lakers are definitely a lottery team right now. Let’s see how much the return of Nash would help. BTW they are now 1-10 when Bryant scores 30 or more points this season.

    • letangusespertplus - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:38 AM

      no but he’s the reason they won those championships. it was when kobe was coaching and the gm. so whats changed since they won those ships? oh thats right, i’m the idiot. /sarcasm.

      • loungefly74 - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:46 AM

        you are an idiot (hey, you said it) if you are basing the 20 games into the season versus his career. seriously? do you hear yourself with that “logic”?

        BTW…the 1-10 stat is extremely misleading. his FG% is up. He is shooting more in games where no one else is stepping up…which is happening quite often this season.

      • letangusespertplus - Dec 12, 2012 at 2:42 PM

        sounds like its really helping them win games too.

    • blameitonlebron - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      Wow. I cannot believe everyone keep saying Lakers are 1-10 when Kobe scores 30 or more. Kobe has scored close to 30 in alot of seasons. That does not mean Lakers only won 8 games every year. KObe is shootin gclose o 50%. last night he shot 57%. If the team is shooting 30% no team will win any games.

  16. davidly - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Kurt, you’re right, but I’d say they hit their low in the conference finals against Dallas and never recovered, just renovated half-heartedly. That’s why PJ was not coming back and will not be.

    I always harp on the ineffectiveness of one player taking more shots than the team has assists, but–jiminy-criminy–last night, it was two players, and MWP only took 12 shots. Plus, they had 18 turnovers.

    I wouldn’t say that it all fell to Kobe, though, rather that he took it upon himself, which is fine, but when he shoots and it doesn’t go in, he usually keeps shooting. His best games are when he seems to be looking to pass first.

    I feel bad for ex-coach Brown, because it wasn’t his fault and this isn’t D’Antoni’s fault either. There are any number of schemes a team can run and they all involve basically the same thing: Move the ball around and to the hoop and hit the open man, and get back on D. If a team doesn’t do this, their success–if they have any at all–is all dependent upon butt-loads of super athletes who can drive it to the hoop, open man be-damned. I think there’s a coach called “Pop” who calls that “hero ball”.

  17. discostu1233 - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    Fire dantoni NOW!!!

  18. themagicfanguy - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    At this point the Lakers HAVE to win the title right? I mean, based on your coverage, they’re the only team that even exists…
    Hint: there are basketball fans outside of LA, NY, MIA, and OKC.

  19. themagicfanguy - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    “Especially the long Lin of guys that just buttpounded magic bung tonight.”

    Kind of like how the lakers got buttpounded by the Magic last week, eh Bozo?

  20. themagicfanguy - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    What’s funny about all this is that the lakers are struggling against a cupcake schedule. Just wait till they start playing against playoff teams lol.

  21. hojo20 - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Kobe gonna cry soon.

  22. qdog112 - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    That’s the bad news. The good news is, the only way to go is up.

    • pl4tinum514 - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      Not true. Losing to a 5-17 team is just the start of the drama

  23. uscthom78 - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    I predict another Kobe incident will occur when the Lakers visit the Nuggets and this time the felon aint getting away.

    • 24thesho - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      You mean the incident when he paid that girl off and never heard from her again?

  24. vcupats - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    If (and it’s a big IF) the Lakers can have the same 8 or 9-man rotation going for a couple of months I think we’ll see a much better squad. Right now it’s just a patchwork effort and it shows. Nobody cares if Kobe pops off for 40, his team won’t help him that much right now.

  25. omniusprime - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Kyrie Irving is the young point guard the Lakers should have gotten, not that Ancient Nash who is too old and decrepit to keep from being injured. Had Nash been in this game Irving would have torched him for 50 points easy. The only consolation is that the Ancient One has had another setback for his being able to return so the young guards will get more playing time.

    Losing to the Cleveland Cadavers is an insult to all of us loyal Laker fans. This loss showcases the monumental failure that is coach Dumbtoni. Dumbtoni hasn’t inspired this team to get after it from the first second, hasn’t given them a winning offense or a defense that can stop anyone. I saw some of the player interviews after last night’s disaster and they just aren’t mad enough at losing now, they seem to think that losing now is okay and that somehow they’ll magically turn it on later in the season. Not with Dumbtoni as coach, that’s for certain. Kobe mentioned a zen master who taught him to be patient and not get mad, actually he needs to forget that lesson and get mad at coach Dumbtoni and the little idiot buss boy who was too arrogant and ignorant to bring back Phil Jackson.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Fire the little idiot buss boy!!! We Want Phil!!! We Want Jeanie!!!

    • ljl2 - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      How exactly would the Lakers have gotten Kyrie Irving?

      Phil can’t save this Lakers team. Too old. Too injured. Too little testicular fortitude.

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