1. The Lakers defense remains a never-ending issue. Attention players who love to pad their stats. Attention fantasy basketball owners looking for a quick fix to their lineup. Attention general managers who want to showcase their players as trade bait. All three parties will receive their wish when they match up against the Lakers’ defense, namely, because it doesn’t exist. The Charlotte Bobcats rank 28th overall in total offense (94.1) and played without star guard Kemba Walker because of a sprained left ankle. Yet, Charlotte still looked like an offensive powerhouse against the lowly Lakers.
The Lakers looked weak in every way imaginable. Al Jefferson looked like an All-Star and a physical force with 40 points and 18 rebounds. TThe Bobcats outmuscled them on the boards (49-41) and in points in the paint (64). Even thought the Lakers committed eight turnovers, the Bobcats still dominated the open floor because the Lakers rarely sprinted back on defense. Whether the Lakers played small or big, their defensive issues remain the same. And they’ve offered no signs the broken record will stop.
2. Nick Young’s shooting struggles continue. His high-volume shooting has stopped entertaining the Lakers. Instead, Young’s marksmanship has made the Lakers’ mess even dirtier. Young’s 21 points performance on 8 of 22 shooting marked his fifth consecutive game where he’s shot below 50 percent. Against Charlotte, Young even missed nine consecutive shots. The Lakers’ fortunes won’t change without any significant defensive improvement. But Young’s high-scoring act at least gave the Lakers a fighting chance in some otherwise bad games. That’s proven to be a more difficult task considering the Lakers’ injury-ravaged lineup has left Young without much open space. Still, he has performed this act plenty of times this season, and must turn things around quickly. Or else the Lakers have no shot at ending their misfortunes.
3. Pau Gasol looked inconsistent while nursing a groin injury. He pulled a disappearing act on defense, though it’s hard to measure whether that relates to health or effort. But Gasol’s 24 point performance on 9 of 17 shooting featured inconsistent stretches in knocking down mid-range jumpers. Only one of Gasol’s made field goals came in the paint, suggesting he may have been tentative driving toward the basket and posting up given his injury. Either way, it’s not a healthy formula for Gasol just to settle for jumpers.
4. The Lakers were terrible from the outside. The Lakers’ success often depends on outside shooting. Yet, they only went 6 of 26 from the field. It appeared like the Lakers were fixated on padding their stats, than actually ensuring crisp ball movement. The worst offenders included Jodie Meeks (3 of 10), Ryan Kelly (1 of 4) and Kendall Marshall (0 of 3)
5. The Lakers approach in splitting time with the bigs didn’t work. To offset Kelly’s inconsistent defense, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni relied on both Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre to provide a bigger presence. But they only combined for eight rebounds in 33 minutes.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org