Found March 26, 2013 on Purple and Gold Blog:
The Lakers are slipping...again. And it's happening at the most inopportune time. Prior to the game against Phoenix, the Lakers had only lost just 3 times since the All-Star break. More importantly, they took over the 8th and final spot of the playoffs from Utah and primed to finish the rest of the regular season strong—perhaps even catching Houston for the 7th seed. Not anymore. With the 3-game losing streak they're now riding, the Rockets have gained a 3-and-a-half game edge in front of the purple and gold. But climbing up the playoff ladder was merely an after-party for the Lakers. Their goal has been to get themselves in the playoff picture...and stay there. Dropping 3 consecutive games, however, is a good way to start getting themselves out of it. And to sprinkle a few more dilemma for the team and their fans, Kobe Bryant thinks that his return, along with Pau Gasol, has derailed the rhythm the Lakers have been playing on since their absence, according to Lakers.com's Mike Trudel. Kobe said that with him out & Gasol returning, it "threw us out of rhythm." They'd been playing a certain way, are now adjusting again. — Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 26, 2013 With only 11 games left in the regular season and clinging on that slim 1-game lead over Utah for the 8th seed, that is not something Lakers fans would like to hear. But Bryant's comment is just a sugar coated distraction to a combination of the team's lack of interest in defense and multiple adjustments on offense against teams that have done their homework against them. While having Kobe as the team's main facilitator worked ingeniously and became one of the big reasons for their success in taking over the 8th spot, it was only a matter of time until teams figure out a way to dismantle it. Against the Warriors on Monday, head coach Mark Jackson patiently waited until the Lakers started looking to Kobe to dig themselves out of that 23-point hole before directing his team to double Bryant as soon as he crosses the halfcourt line in order to get the ball out of his hands. The Lakers eventually cut that humungous lead down to 7 points in the 4th quarter. But Jackson's cerebral strategy did it's job enough to stop that late push from the Lakers from seeing another come-from-behind win at the ORACLE Arena this season. Defensive craftmanship like that is how teams survive in the playoffs. For the Lakers, however, they don't even have a blueprint to base a defensive identity. But hold on, it doesn't stop there. As we're seeing against the elite and even the better teams in the league, the Lakers really have nowhere else to go when the opposing defense answers their reliant on Kobe in the 2nd half. With a 2-time MVP and future Hall-of-Famer point guard that he's coached for several years at his disposal, it's confusing why Mike D'Antoni continue to have Bryant run the offense when it's clear ball movement and a true offensive scheme are needed to win certain ball games. D'Antoni is supposed to be one of the most creative offensive mind in the NBA. Why can't he use it? Against Golden State, Jarrett Jack ran to double Kobe numerous times, but the Lakers never took advantage of that temporary hole on the defense to attack the paint to allow several options to score the basket through layups, alley-oop to Dwight Howard or even a wide-open 3 for either Steve Blake or Steve Nash. Instead, the Lakers waited until the defense sets itself back and handed the ball right back to Bryant and start exactly from where they left off. That is not winning basketball, let alone playoff basketball. If people think that the hiring of D'Antoni have been scrutinized enough, wait until the playoffs roll along. If the Lakers are still having trouble now defending teams that show up for them and have no immediate in-game solution to getting better shot percentage to score the ball when their jumpers aren't falling with the regular season ending in just 4 weeks, the playoffs will eat them alive. Period. And let's be clear, there won't be any "ideal" matchup for the Lakers this season. When you look at the teams awaiting for the Lakers in the playoffs, they are teams who, not only feel they can with the title, but also believe that they can beat the Lakers in a 7-game series. Based on how most of them have faired against the purple and gold this season, who can blame them? And if you add that brimming confidence to their solidity as a team and athletic advantage over the Lakers, you get an idea as to what the Lakers will be dealing with in the playoffs.  But the Lakers have enough talent and experience to really make a noise in the post-season. They have shown many times during the regular season that they can put together a complete game when they want to. They just have to remember that and feed off of it. They still have time to correct what they'll immediately need for the playoffs in the remaining 11 games. But it's going to take a collective and assertive effort and desire to make it happen. If not, then they're really making a sham-mockery of themselves.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Kobe Bryant has a bottle of $20k 'Black Gold' Chilling in anticipation of a 2013 NBA Championship

Kobe Bryant has a bottle of $20,000 'Black Gold' Chilling in anticipation of a 2013 NBA Championship. Kobe Bryant may be a bit delirious. As his team looks NBA playoff-bound, Bryant was presented... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com

Kobe Bryant Reverse Dunk against the Warriors (Video)

I’ll be honest. At 34 years of age, I thought the number of monster dunks we saw from Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant would be down to a minimum. Realistically, 17 years in the league and over 40,000 minutes on his legs, I just didn’t think it would he would be able to consistently still rise over defenders and finish with authority at the rim. I couldn’t have been more...

Kobe Bryant Smooth as Butter Leading the Lakers to Win Over T-Wolves

Everything appeared to be on track for the Lakers finally; they were winning, they were back above .500, they were in playoff position--all was almost good in the Los Angeles. Then Kobe Bryant goes down, and now Metta World Peace is out. Luckily Kobe is back and appears to be okay. The team stopped a 3-game slide by winning a high scoring affair with the Minnesota Timberwolves...

Dunk of the Night: Kobe Bryant’s two hand reverse

Are we at the point with the Lakers where we’re taking moral victories? If so, than Kobe’s dunk on Monday night in the Lakers loss to the Warriors was definitely that. Check out Mamba’s two-hand reverse dunk.     Kobe finished with 36 but it wasn’t enough. The Jazz beat the Sixers and with the Mavericks just a game behind the Lakers. Every win is crucial. Playoffs start...

Kobe Bryant Throws Down A Reverse Dunk On The Warriors

Kobe Bryant took advantage of a 1-on-1 vs. the Warriors second-year guard Klay Thompson and accelerated baseline for the nasty double-clutch reverse jam Monday night:

Report: NBA says refs blew call

A person with knowledge of the discussions says the NBA has informed the Minnesota Timberwolves that the referee crew erred on Wednesday night in not calling a foul on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on the final play of the game. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made, said the league contacted the Timberwolves on Thursday to...

NBA stars' 'superhero' Nike shoes violate rules

So, Nike has introduced some new superhero shoes for Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Superhero shoes? Yeah, basically Nike had to release some new shoes for the NBA playoffs, and came up with a superhero theme. Officially, this is the Elite Series 2.0 line and, truth be told, they are pretty sweet. There's a little bit of a sticking point, though: They violate the...

Phil Jackson Makes His Twitter Debut, First Tweet Loaded With Typos

So the “Zen Master” has finally made his way to Twitter. I wonder if Kobe Bryant had a hand in this. NBA coaching legend, Phil Jackson, has decided to take his talents to Twitter. It didn’t take long before his follower count reached 112,000 and to receive the blue check of approval, following one simple but complex tweet. 11 champ;ipnsikp[ ringhs — Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11...

NEW HUBLOT AMBASSADOR KOBE BRYANT REVEALS SIGNATURE TIMEPIECE

Kobe Bryant is the latest sportsman to team up with Swiss luxury watch brand, Hublot. The Los Angeles Lakers star will represent the brand on an international level, joining a roster of sports ambassadors that includes Dwyane Wade, Usain Bolt and soccer legend, Diego Maradona. “Bryant is the perfect choice for Hublot – a brand known for its precision and excellence, traits that...

Did Kobe Bryant get away with a last second foul on Timberwolves Ricky Rubio

The Lakers finally won a game after a 3-game slide which marked the return of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to the court. The Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night 120-117. The Twolves mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter with Ricky Rubio having a chance to tie the game with clock running out. Kobe Bryant hit Rubio on the arm altering the shot… game over. Check...

Timberwolves Lose To Lakers On Controversial No-Call

Down 120-117 to the Lakers after a Kobe Bryant free throw miss with 3.4 seconds remaining in the game, Ricky Rubio grabbed the rebound and dribbled into a desperation 3-point attempt to tie the game. Kobe attempted to contest the shot and appeared to have made contact with Rubio’s arm. The refs did not call a foul which caused an enraged Ricky Rubio to argue the call to no avail...

Metta World Peace played last game as a Laker?

Injuries have been a constant theme for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.  The team learned Wednesday that it lost one of it's most durable players. Metta World Peace, who injured his left knee in Monday night's game against the Warriors, 

Lakers-Warriors Preview

The Golden State Warriors aren't sure if they'll have Stephen Curry available. It may not matter against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. With the status of their leading scorer unclear, the Warriors attempt to continue their surge by beating the Lakers for just the second time in 20 meetings Monday night. Golden State (40-31), sixth in the Western Conference, has...

Metta World Peace Will Undergo Knee Surgery, Continuing Lakers’ Injury Woes

MINNEAPOLIS — The Los Angeles Lakers’ push for the playoffs just got a whole lot tougher. Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the team’s best perimeter defender, is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’ll miss a minimum of six weeks, the team announced Wednesday. That means that even if the Lakers get into the playoffs — they’re...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.