Too old to play D?

Jerry West took a couple of shots at the Lakers’ defense last week in a chat with a bunch of Orange County car dealers, saying they were told old and wondering when the last time anyone saw them hit the floor to chase a loose ball. Asked today about West’s comments, Lakers guard Derek Fisher declined to answer. He did say this, however:

“You won’t get me to respond negatively to anything said by Jerry West. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him (West drafted Fisher while he was Lakers GM). But anybody else who has anything to say about how we’ve been playing defensively, it’s just unfounded. “Statistically, the numbers are there in the last 10 or 11 games. Teams are not shooting the ball as well. Our opponents’ points are down. We’ve had some slip-ups, including the Clippers game (a loss Jan. 16). … We’re working hard at it.”

Indeed, the numbers are favorable to Fisher’s argument rather than West’s. The Lakers have have given up 100 points or more only three times in their last 17 games. They also are giving up an average of 96.4 points this season, which is slightly better than the average of 97.0 they gave up en route to winning the title in 2009-10.