The Los Angeles Lakers lost their 13th game of the season on Tuesday night. This was a team that Metta World Peace suggested could match the 72-10 mark set by the 1996 Chicago Bulls.
At this point, the Lakers would be happy just to crack .500.
Putting aside the fact that this team has lost six of its last eight games – the worst thing about L.A.’s recent unlucky streak is that it is inexplicable. Literally, nobody can figure out why this group has been playing as badly as it has been playing.
When you have Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the same team, you shouldn’t need Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to be healthy in order to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. When you’re seventh in the league in points per game, seventh in offensive efficiency, second in rebounding and 14th in defensive efficiency (they were in the top 10 with Mike Brown), you shouldn’t be out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
And yet that’s exactly where the Lakers find themselves – on the outside looking in. After his team’s embarassing loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday, Kobe spoke with the L.A. Times regarding how this season has progressed.
"This is the toughest stretch, the most challenging stretch in my 17 years for sure," he said.
"I'm very upset, and in the past I would blow my top and go crazy," he said. "Then I had a head coach who always kept calm and I learned from that.
"I'm trying to do the same thing here, but I won't lie; they're messing with my Zen stuff."
Still, despite him trying to appear tranquil, you could tell that Kobe was frustrated.
"It's extremely, extremely frustrating," he said. "I don't know if we're too old and it takes us a long time to get started and lathered up. It seems like we got the Scooby-Doo syndrome where it takes you like five seconds.…"
So what’s the solution?
"Last year we got beat in the playoffs by transition points and this year it's still an Achilles' heel for us. I don't know if we're too slow of a team and we got to change things up a little bit and play a slower game. I don't know the answer."
L.A. has games against the New York Knicks (2), Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers scheduled over the next couple of weeks. All of those could end up being losses.
Things may get a lot worse before they get better.
It will be interesting to see how calm Kobe will be at that point.
(Kudos L.A. Times)