If you’re looking for the turning point where the Lakers lost Sunday night’s game to Seattle, I would suggest the three minutes at the start of the second quarter they played without either Kobe Bryant or Lamar Odom on the floor.
Lakers coach Phil Jackon played a lineup of Smush Parker, Maurice Evans, Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanovic and Brian Cook. What happened was the Lakers gave up an 11-0 run and committed five turnovers. The Sonics took a 40-31 lead and never looked back.
“I wanted to give them an opportunity,” Jackson said. “I put Luke out there with them so they’d have somebody out there they were comfortable with, that had been with them since training camp. But that didn’t seem to hold them together.”
There weren’t a lot of times last season where Jackson felt comfortable not having one of his two leaders on the court. If you saw Friday night’s game against Seattle, Jackson played Odom the entire first quarter, then left him out for 4 1-2 minutes to start the second quarter with Bryant on the bench.
It hurt the Lakers to have two players – - Evans and Radmanovic – - in that second-quarter lineup Sunday that are still learning the offense. There’s also not a lot of defensive muscle with Radmanovic and Cook as the two big men. The Sonics turned up the pressure during that run and the Lakers threw away four passes.
We’ll see Tuesday night if Jackson is inclined to sit Bryant and Odom together again.