Other than those two, and Pau early on, the Lakers never got it together, all night. I’m not sure if they assumed Utah would be an easy target because of their copious injury issues or if there was something else afoot. The Lakers started out well- Pau was on fire, the defense was good and the team had 7 assists on their first 9 makes- but fell apart like I said.
On the flip side, last night’s game was not that big a deal in the long run, despite the current NBA standings race. I’m confident in the Lakers’ ability to beat anyone in a seven game series no matter what their final seeding ends up as.
It’s also pretty clear that unlike a lot of teams most of the problems the Lakers suffer from do not affect them long term (aside from injuries of course). Even with these last two losses, I doubt that they are actually in any sort of funk, like some are suggesting. I’m not worried in the slightest about their post-season chances or focus.
Honestly… I don’t want to get into the game much more than that, although I suppose I have to mention Kobe if I want to be thorough. He had a terrible shooting game for most of the night, but in true Mamba fashion came alive in the fourth quarter for 10 of his 20 points.
He chased down a loose ball and hit a three in front of the Lakers’ bench to bring them within two. At this point, I was getting really nervous but still felt like we had a chance as long as Kobe was in the game. He proved me momentarily right on the ensuing possession: Bryant came off a screen to bury a huge triple which gave the Lakers a one point lead with 15 seconds left….. and then it all went to hell.