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Lakers continue to regress in latest loss to Bulls

Jan 22, 2013, 1:01 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol listens to Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago

The latest drama surrounding your 2012-13 Lakers unfolded before the game in Chicago even began on Monday. But it was merely a distraction, and a meaningless one at that in the grand scheme of what is becoming more evident with each passing game that is lost.

The Lakers are getting worse, not better. And all of their flaws were on display simultaneously during a 95-83 loss to a Bulls team that was playing without its leading scorer.

L.A. is now just 17-24 on the season, and four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

Pau Gasol returned to the bench, head coach Mike D’Antoni announced before tip-off, in an effort to go with a smaller lineup that theoretically would be more conducive to running his offensive system.

As he did in Gasol’s first game back from a concussion that sidelined him for five games, D’Antoni played Gasol with the rest of the starters for the entire fourth quarter, so the thing about he and Dwight Howard being unable to play together clearly wasn’t what drove that decision.

Gasol was aggressive if nothing else, and provided a decent offensive spark while finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Earl Clark, who got the start in place of Gasol, finished with 12 and eight in almost 35 minutes.

On, then, to Howard, who gave the Lakers less than nothing on either end of the floor. He seemed to be laboring to get around all night long, with nonexistent defensive rotations and an offensive game that saw him stripped or unable to finish through contact time and again. Howard finished with eight points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots in 30 minutes, but it’s hard to stress just how ineffective he was in this one.

Luol Deng was forced to miss Monday’s game for the Bulls with a hamstring strain, but Chicago didn’t miss his team-best 17.4 points per game. That’s because Kirk Hinrich got loose for a season-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, thanks in large part to pick and roll situations where Steve Nash continually got lost defensively.

It’s silly to pick on Nash individually, though, when the team defense overall was once again a real issue. The rotations and closeouts were brutal, and Chicago was able to knock down over 52 percent of its attempts from three-point distance because of it.

Add in another miserable shooting night from Kobe Bryant, who finished 7-of-22 from the field, including making just one of his seven attempts in the fourth quarter, and you have the game’s ultimate result.

The Gasol issue will play itself out one way or another; either he’ll come to terms with the way D’Antoni is currently choosing to use him, or he’ll cause problems to the point where the Lakers will have no choice but to deal him at the deadline.

But when peering through this mess of a season in Los Angeles, remember that these smaller issues are just a diversion from the greater one, which is this: The Lakers are getting worse, not better. And eventually, they will have to do something about it.

  1. fruitcovejag - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    Any idea why they are not shopping Howard? Because Dwight is younger than Gasol or a FA? Golden State still want him? Dwight is so limited offensively and Gasol is being pushed out of the paint. Gasol is not Ryan Anderson or Hedo Turkoglu. And Howard is turning the ball over at a very high rate. They are trying to get him the ball. Not sure how many times he’s flailed his arms in the air while the other team steals or strips the ball. What was the Lakers record last year w/Kobe and Gasol? They can be successful, especially w/Nash. Dwight is clogging up the middle. And it looks like the Lakers would be better off if Dwight were out for a while. Maybe with some sort of a phantom strain?

    • badintent - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      Just replace the Laker starting 5 with the Clippers bench, the wins will start. Elementary, Mr.Watson

    • zippoo1 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:54 AM

      Have Kobe coming off the bench.

  2. dannymac17 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Not that long ago, the Lakers were known as a two big man wrecking ball.

    Now they are getting pushed around and couldn’t defend anyone.

    As much as I rag on the Lakers and their delusional fans. This is low, even for them.

  3. scalfor3 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Lakers suck

  4. limonadamas - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Meh. It was lower the other day when we lost to Toronto. That was really sad.

    The bad news for Laker fans is that it has a great chance of getting even worse until we play against NO next Tuesday. The next three are killer (@MEM, vs UTH, vs OKC). We could reach 10 games under 0.500…

  5. 00maltliquor - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Right now I have to question if my Lakers can even beat the LA Sparks.

    • guyaneserj - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:37 AM

      LMAO

  6. halohonk - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Wow cant wait for spring training.
    Chick Hearn is rolling over in his grave. What are you gonna do now Jim Buss? Between you and David Stearn you set this proud franchise back 5 years. Cant wait to hear Magics next comment. All the old Lakers must be totally embarresed by this debacle. This sucks

    • loungefly74 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      man…i’m just about there too. what a debacle. i don’t get it. (well…i do…they suck on Defense) yeah, i’m all on board to make things right (ship out pau)

  7. coldyron - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    At least Mike Brown had them playing defense, why hasn’t the current coach been run out of town yet?

    • justaride88 - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:39 AM

      Nope, he hadn’t. In fact thats why he got fired.

  8. daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    trade kobe.. ;-p

    • mazblast - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Unthinkable. Papa Buss would veto it. More importantly, KoMe has a full NTC and has made it known he’ll use it.

      • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        I feel sorry for the lakers fans then… they’re screwd!

  9. heathater4lifeson - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Alright time to start tanking… Oh, that’s right they don’t have any picks

  10. magicbucs - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    To Fruit… they can’t trade Howard cause they are in the same boat the magic were in last season. The last year of his contract and he would need to commit to a team to re-sign with them. He’s out of LA after the season anyway. Dwight screwed the lakers this season like he did the magic last season. He doesn’t even look like half the Dwight he was when in Orlando.

    • kavika6 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      So why is he starting in the all-star game instead of Tim Duncan? Stupid fans.

      • eerock41 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:52 AM

        You got it. Most fans only vote for the names they know, not by who they think should actually be a starter.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      @ magicbucs

      Dwight doesn’t “screw” us if (or when, more like) he leaves. It’s his choice. It wasn’t like he asked to sign here or get traded here, and even if he did, players have the right to do what they want. There is no such thing as loyalty. Look at MEM shopping Gay/Randolph or the Pacers gauging the interest on Granger. You can’t be a whiny crybaby when someone leaves, you just gotta move on.

  11. kanemoney - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    It the coaching, not the talent. Well – and the bench. Their bench is terrible.

    • itsthemelman82 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      They already changed coaches… Went from defensive to an offensive and it still didn’t work! Jimmy Butler had Kobe locked up! Keep telling folks stop counting those Bulls out!

  12. sunsation3413 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    No one ever mentions Dwight had back surgery not too long ago. The issue is will he ever be the same. Back issues can end a big mans career. Whether its a true physical issue or a mental one, there is clearly a problem going on with him.

  13. 32magicman - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    The most excited i have been about the lakers roster for a long time before the season began. What a disappointment. D’antoni is trying to play the only style of ball he knows but it has no chance with this squad. This team has no identity!

    • davidly - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      For a long time? Really? They had a monster line-up on the verge of a three-peat just two seasons ago. I mean, kudos to Dallas for taking it to them and all that, but let’s be honest–that team coasted through the regular season like they could turn it on at will, and the rest–as they say–is history. They’re still paying the bill for that mishap. Nevertheless, even on paper this line-up looked worse compared to 2010-11.

  14. divan22 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    If I was told before the season that Kobe would consistently take more shots than Dwight and Pau COMBINED, I’d have told you that the Lakers would greatly underachieve. I didn’t think it would actually happen; silly me for underestimating Kobe’s selfishness.

    With all the Hall of Fame talent on the Lakers roster, Kobe needed to take a lesser role in order to make it work. It’s the same concept that Miami’s “Big 3″ all sacrificed their gaudy statistics in order to coexist, play team ball, and make things as tough as possible for opposing defenses.

    Instead, Kobe insisted before the season that the Lakers were still his team and his selfishness on the court is now starting to cost them games. No, I’m not blaming him for the entire mess that has been the Lakers season… but he certainly deserves his share of the blame.

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      completely agree with you man.. i’m a fan dirk and i hate that 6’8, 250 lbs. gorilla in miami… but we have to admit, that guy’s way better than this so called “black mamba”

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      even melo learned it the hard way. barely missed the playoffs last season… when he started playing team game this season, knicks got wins… the days of ball huggings are gone…

    • lmoneyfresh - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      The biggest gripe I have is that nobody will hold Kobe accountable for the way he’s been playing. All anybody wants to say is how great he is and how he is trying to put the team on his back. Well guess what? He can’t do that anymore. He’s too old and he’s already worn out his legs probably until the all star break. At some point the great ones realize they are better served making their team better as opposed to just scoring. Especially when you’re playing with so much talent beside you.

  15. isujames - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Can we stop talking about this cast of scrubs and has beens?

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      nope! its fun to talk about kobe when he’s loosing… bury the damn egomaniac!

    • mazblast - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      We can, but we won’t. As daddyghi said, it’s FUN. Laker fans have had their way for years, talking trash. Karma, baby. The great mandala, what goes around, comes around. Payback is a b***h. Other cliche of your choice.

    • paleihe - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Nope, won’t happen.

      The Lakers are the premiere team in the league, and with this roster, they should be talked about for how disappointing it is. Whether they’re winning or losing, they’re gonna be talked about.

  16. bucs24 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Fire the team killer the coach

  17. iowahbr - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Never have seen a team playing to its press clippings rather than its on the court play before. the head cases start in the front office and go in every direction. when they didn’t hire their old coach back they sealed their future.

  18. andreweac - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    What was/is more disappointing? Star Wars Episodes 1-3 or your 2012-13 Lakers.

    This Lakers fan has had enough! Fire Mike D’Antoni. What a colossal disaster to hire him. He is jar-jar.

  19. paulhargis53 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    17-24 at the halfway point…..7 games under .500, this is more than I had hoped for. Could not happen to a better fanbase.

  20. trimaster1 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Kobe will never win another ring. His time to shine is done.

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      yup! dats why i keep on saying….. Trade Kobe!

      • lmoneyfresh - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        NOBODY wants that contract. Nobody.

  21. omniusprime - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Last night’s loss to a short handed Bulls team proves that the Lakers are getting worse because Dumbtoni is too arrogant and ignorant to make them a winning team. Dumbtoni is destroying a great team by trying to force the personnel to play his worthless system that they don’t fit instead of coming up with a system that fits the Laker players. Dumbtoni being too stupid to know how to utilize Pau Gasol is Dumbtoni’s fault, not Pau’s. How much longer is Kobe going to put up with this moron coach before he explodes? I hope Kobe explodes soon because the Lakers need to lose the most pathetic excuse for an NBA coach or they’re doomed.

    Brett you’re an idiot if you don’t think the poor define doesn’t start with Ancient Nash. Look at how little Nate Robertson ran circles around that old slow geezer. Nash is trash, time to trade him away before he wrecks the team.

    If Pau is traded away while Dumbtoni and Nash are kept then I am finished with being a Laker’s fan after over 40 years. The little idiot buss boy is destroying his father’s great legacy by trying to do it his ignorant way instead of following Jerry Buss’s winning formula of having great big men.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Nash!!! We Want Gasol!!!

  22. trimaster1 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    It’s time to accept the fact that this team is not very good. The Lakers don’t need a new coach, they need a MAGICIAN. Someone who can pull wins out of a hat, because that’s the only way they will win…

  23. jgray30 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Trade Howard. he’s garbage. They constantly try to get the ball in to him. if they did that for By um, there wouldn’t be any question who the best center was.

  24. bigrele - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Lmao, hahahaha! This is just GREAT!!!! I can oh so remember all the BS talking that was going on before the season started about the Lakers being THE team in the West & how they Thunder ruined their title chances by trading away James Harden, oh how quickly things can change lol! So um who are THE two best teams in the West again? Cause I sure remember the team to beat out West before the season started was supposedly the LAKERS, but last I checked the two best teams in the West are the Thunder & Clippers, YES! That’s right the L.A Clippers lol! Enjoy the offseason Laker fans! Funny thing is we’ve yet to reach the halfway point in the season hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  25. tiennguyen645 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Hey! All yo do not made fun off my LAKER team. Like the guy above said LAKER cant even beat LA SPARKS … Lol

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