After an embarrassing 109-95 loss to the Clippers, the Lakers find themselves back in the ninth seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers came out early with a lot of defensive intensity and were hitting their shots at a 56 percent clip in the first quarter. As the game wore on and the head coach Mike D’Antoni stubbornly insisting on playing seven players against an up-tempo team, the Lakers fell behind big.
In his post-game press conference on TWC SportsNet, D’Antoni shook off the notion that the Lakers were fatigued:
“We don’t have a fatigue issue.”
The Lakers’ effort in the final three quarters suggest a team that is dead tired. Kobe Bryant played another 47 minutes and Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, and Dwight Howard all played 39 minutes.
Their shots were short in the second half and they got killed on the glass. Howard had four rebounds on Sunday, the first time he didn’t have 10 or more since the middle of February. At the end of the day, the Clippers held a 50-36 rebounding advantage and 16 of them were on the offensive end.
After the first quarter, the Lakers hot shooting completely disappeared. They finished the day shooting 43 percent from the field and missed 21 of their final 24 shot attempts from behind the arc.
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Short shots, no effort to box out and rebound the ball and a lack of defensive intensity sounds like a team that is gassed. In the past four games, Bryant has played all but six minutes and didn’t sit out today until the game was out of reach.
It’s one thing to try and put your best lineup on the floor and keep a playoff spot, but Bryant and company need to get a rest during the game. Regardless of whether Bryant and the rest of the team want to sit out, it’s up to D’Antoni to be the coach and decide that they need to get a blow.
Bryant will be stubborn and say that he isn’t tired but for the Lakers to make the playoffs he can’t play all 48 minutes every game.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Dwight’s hustle in our Play of the Week!
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