I can easily say that is the worst the Lakers have played all season. I'm even inclined to say that is the worst game they've played in the past four years. The Lakers have lost other games this year by more points but a big part of those can be attributed to the opposition. This time though, the Bobcats played poorly and still killed the Lakers, 98-83.
There was never a stretch of over one minute where the Lakers played well. They had horrible ball movement all game long and it resulted in either turnovers or contested shots. They were never able to work the ball to get easy shots like they normally do.
It seems like teams might be figuring out how to stop Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. On Thursday the Heat slowed them down by going to a zone and doubling early. The Bobcats also doubled early before either could make their first move. Once they make a move they become a threat to score or pass (as both have excellent hands). So if they're forced to give it up early it dares the rest of the Lakers to make the defense pay by knocking down jumpers. Right now the Lakers can't do that. They shot 36 percent from the field and hit just 3 of 18 three-pointers.
Shannon Brown is feeling the effects of a thumb injury he sustained on Tuesday. That is the only explanation I can think of for him hitting the side of the backboard on a three-point attempt from the corner. He went 2-9, Ron Artest was 1-9, and Derek Fisher finished 1-5. Kobe Bryant and Jordan Farmar were the only ones that played decent. Bryant scored 26 points on 21 shots and Farmar hit 4 of 6 for 12 points.
The Lakers turned the ball over 20 times including 9 in the third quarter alone. During that third quarter I thought this was the worst they played all year but the game still wasn't out of reach. They were never able to turn it on and the beatdown continued.
For the Bobcats, defense led to easy offense. The Bobcats had 22 fastbreak points and many of the fastbreaks were caused by their 13 steals. That's part of the reason they shot over 50 percent from the field. But that's not the reason they shot 50 percent from three-point range. That can be attributed to awful defense. It's the same type of defense that allowed the Heat to hit almost 70 percent after the first half on Thursday. Most NBA players can knock down the wide open three-pointer. On Thursday it was Quentin Richardson and last night it was Gerald Wallace and DJ Augustin. The two hit 5 of their 7 attempts.
The Lakers have yet to lose three in a row this season (nor have they lost three in a row since acquiring Gasol) but that is in serious jeopardy. The Lakers have to travel to Orlando to play the Magic on Sunday. The Magic have won 6 of 7 and will be looking to avenge their loss to the Lakers earlier in the season.