Pau Gasol contributed 24 points and 9 rebounds. (Facebook/LA Lakers)
Los Angeles Lakers fans will not have positive memories from Hollywood Nights. The Lakers fell to the Charlotte Bobcats 110-100 in a game that quickly turned into a Hollywood Nightmare Friday night.
This season the Bobcats averaged 97.2 points a game on 36.8 percent shooting. Versus the Lakers, they shot 52.3 percent while posting 110 points. Charlotte was led by Al Jefferson who finished with 40 points and 18 rebounds.
After the game, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said that the defensive strategy for Jefferson was to attempt to “try to hold him under 50.”
As the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, everyone expects more from D’Antoni. The Lakers suffered their sixth consecutive loss and 12th loss in the month of January. The loss to the Bobcats marked the 12th loss in a month for the first time in 50 years for LA.
This is no time to make jokes. This is a time to state that this isn’t good enough. This is the time to state how disappointed this season is, and this isn’t how a 16-time champion plays. Instead, D’Antoni analyzed the loss differently.
“They just weren’t ready to play for whatever reason,” said D’Antoni.
What the Lakers weren’t ready to do is play defense, and they haven’t all season. This is the 14th consecutive game where the Lakers have given up 100 points or more. The Lakers are 6-32 when giving up 100 points or more to an opponent.
“We got to pick up our defense,” said Lakers Robert Sacre. “We have to hold ourselves accountable and play defense.”
Five Lakers finished in double figures, compared to only three players for the Bobcats. Still, LA was outscored 64-38 in the paint and outrebounded, 49-41.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 24 points and nine rebounds, which marked his 10th straight game with at least 20 points. As the Lakers wait for some players to return from injury, they struggle to become overly frustrated. With this loss the Lakers have now dropped 18 of the last 21 games.
“That’s what’s wearing on me the fact that I feel like we’re letting the fans down. The city down,” said Nick Young, who finished with 21 points. “That’s what hurts.”
Some fans have even taken to Twitter asking Kobe Bryant not to return this season, because there is nothing to play for. With the Lakers playoff hopes dwindling down and the Lakers injuries on a rise, most don’t see the point of rushing Bryant’s return.
So what is there left to play for this season?
“Mostly pride and our fans and the name that we have on our chest, more than anything,” said Gasol.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, Gasol might not be able to play for any of those things. Gasol aggravated his groin injury Friday night and will undergo a MRI on Saturday. His status for Tuesday’s game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves is up in the air.
The Lakers are now 16-31 on the season.