DALLAS — The microphones set up near the rims here produced rhythmic noises that explained how the Lakers walked off here with a 123-104 loss Tuesday to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
Swish! Whoosh! Bank!
The Lakers’ defense allowed the Mavericks to make noise. A lack of perimeter defense allowed Dallas guard Monte Ellis to score 30 points on 11 of 14 shooting with ease off drives to the basket and mid-range jumpers. For the Lakers’ big men, getting outrebounded 50-35and allowing 52 points in the paint may just give D’Antoni second thoughts on adding size.
“We can’t win,” D’Antoni said, “if we don’t come out with the same grit and determination.”
Clank! Clunk! Doink!
The Lakers’ marksmanship sounded just as awful as their statistics look. For the perimeter players hoping they could crack D’Antoni’s small-ball lineup, they went a collective 38.7 percent from three-point range. Lakers forward Xavier Henry also missed all four of his three-point attempts against Dallas. It didn’t help the Lakers’ starting lineup went a combined 12 of 34 from the field (35.2 percent), including Steve Nash posting only five points on 2 of 8 shooting.
“I feel like I’m getting a little bit better,” said Nash, who has struggled staying fully healthy. “But the body is the main thing. If I can get that to agree with me a little more, I can still get to my spots where I’ve knocked down shots my entire career.”
The Lakers’ ears should ring loudly after experiencing their worst margin of defeat against Dallas since their 36-point Game 4 loss in the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers (2-3) also have lost their first two road games this season by an average of 25 points. That’s hardly a good omen for the Lakers with stops this week in Houston (Thursday) and New Orleans (Friday).
“We can’t make a habit out of this in getting our butts kicked on the road,” said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who posted a quiet 10 points on only nine shots.
“Otherwise teams, when we come to their house, will think, ‘We got the Lakers and we’ll kick their [tail].”
To change their fortunes, they might want to provide more clarity on their rotation.
It took a notable turn with D’Antoni opting for a bigger lineup. Chris Kaman answered the mild spattering of boos from Dallas after playing there last season with 10 points, seven rebounds and more playing time with Gasol as he wished. Despite a bone bruise in his right knee, Lakers forward Jordan Hill also posted six points on 3 of 5 shooting and three rebounds to earn 15 minutes and start the second half.
Those developments were drowned out by all the noise surrounding the Lakers’ missed shots and defensive lapses.
“We can get beat by 20 no matter what,,” D’Antoni said. “With any combo, we’re not good.”
That’s because the Lakers completed their first week of season lacking consistency in a few areas.
The Lakers may have featured eight different players hitting at least one three pointer in two games this season, marking only the third time in franchise history they have done so. But their bottom-line results won’t come anywhere close in any record books. After hitting 14 of 29 shots from three-point range in their season opening win last week against the Clippers, the Lakers have made only 37 of 101 three-pointers (36.6 percent). Meanwhile, the Lakers’ defense have allowed an average of 109 points per game.
“It’s a heart thing,” Hill said. ” We should’ve buckled down the start of the game. We didn’t, and they took advantage of it.”
With that, the Lakers walked off the floor validating the Mavericks’ scoreboard promo warning moms why it’s a bad idea to let their kids grow up to become Laker fans.
“They’ve run out of time,” the song went. “They’re all past their prime.”