Five things to take from Lakers’ 123-87 loss to Clippers

Kobe Bryant sits with head in hand as the Lakers go down to the Clippers 123-87, Friday, January 10, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Kobe Bryant sits with head in hand as the Lakers go down to the Clippers 123-87, Friday, January 10, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Below are five things to take from the Lakers’ 123-87 loss Friday to the Clippers at Staples Center:

1. The Lakers’ defense remains atrocious. So what’s the Lakers’ defensive philosophy? “Stop the ball,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni quipped the other day. Major fail. The Lakers don’t guard the paint, which is why Blake Griffin posted 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds and why Darren Collison contributed 20 points on 9 of 12 shooting and seven assists. The Lakers don’t take any effort jumping out on shooters or defending the corner perimeter, which is why J.J. Redick dropped 19 points on a 8 of 15 clip on mostly open shots. The Lakers don’t make multiple efforts, explaining why the Clippers outrebounded them, 52-43. Add it all up, and it should be hardly surprising the CLippers jumped out to a 43-25 first-quarter lead. Or getting outscored 31-7 in the third quarter. If that seems bad, the Lakers have experienced worse. They conceded 47 first-quarter points Nov. 10 against Minnesota. The Lakers’ franchise record for largest margin of defeat still rests at 46 points where the Lakers lost 129-83 at Portland on Jan. 9, 1995. This became so bad that the Clipppers scoreboard showed Laker fans streaming for the exits midway through the fourth quarter.

The Lakers insist they’re trying their hardest and just struggling with an injury depleted roster. But the Lakers offered little effort and appeared deflated withe the circumstances. For all the roster deficiencies they have, the Lakers can at least try to offset with effort. THough they haven’t had a fractured locker room, the Lakers’ focus and intensity has waned on defense. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they have offered no signs that they can overcome the injuries. Nor have they shown they’ll ever become a solid defensive team.

2. The Lakers didn’t help matters with their ball handling.A huge part of the Lakers’ defensive issues against the Clippers stemmed from their 21 turnovers. They led to 25 fast-break points, caused both by slow reactions getting back on defense and the Clippers’ superior speed.

The reasons for the ball handling gaffes appear wide-ranging. One, the Lakers lack six healthy point guards. Two, Kendall Marshall is relatively inexperienced, as indicated by two turnovers including a pass that hit a fan’s face in the second row. Jodie Meeks appears incredibly unequipped in handling the ball as he recorded five turnovers. The Lakers also aren’t moving consistently enough with a purpose, nor do they have much awareness on where they are going. As they have shown with their defense, the Lakers haven’t shown much promise that they’re correcting this problem.

3. Marshall tweaked his right ankle. As if the Lakers could afford more injury news. Marshall rolled his right ankle stepping on a referee’s foot after he tried tipping in a basket in the third quarter. Marshall played through it before shortly sitting out. But Marshall still appeared in garbage time. Considering the Lakers’ never-ending injury list, it’s still something to monitor.

4. Chris Kaman made a surprise appearance. Raise your hand if you saw this coming. You didn’t. Kaman entered the game with 8:07 left in the first quarter over Robert Sacre, and initially formed some nice chemistry with Pau Gasol. But as soon as Gasol was yanked with 3:33 left, the Clippers went on a 18-2 run to close out the first quarter. Kaman offered very little, posting six points on 2-of-6 shooting and six rebounds in 19 minutes, including getting posterized by Griffin.

5. The Lakers shooting was atrocious. They shot 34.3 percent from the field, including two of 20 in the third quarter. The worst offenders included Meeks (11 points on 2 of 10 shooting), Pau Gasol (10 points on 5 of 15 shooting) and Nick Young (11 points on 3-of-14 shooting).


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