I just got home from the Wizards @ Lakers game on March 22nd, 2013. It was obviously a very long drive for me and Los Angeles traffic never ceases to disappoint me, seeing as there was major traffic even at ~10 pm PST.
Anyway, the entire 2nd half was pathetic by the Lakers. It's as though the team went into the locker room at half-time and said, "Hey, let's go ahead and let the Wizards back into the game."
I don't know who to place the blame on more for the loss.. As we all know, basketball is a team
sport (Kobe didn't get the memo, huh?), so you can't just blame one player for everything; however, I'll make a blame pie:
5% on Metta World Peace
3 of 6 from the field isn't bad at all... Until you realize they were all 3-pters. His only real shot attempt in the paint was an offensive foul with 34.9 seconds left in the game.
MWP isn't a 3-pt shooter. He has never been one his entire career, so why does he think he can suddenly become one now? We don't need him shooting 3's every night. His defensive presence is good enough. He's shot around 395 three pointers so far this season. That's more than any other season in his entire career! The 2nd most is from the 2008-09 season where in 68 games, he shot 383 three-pointers... While averaging 17 ppg.
10% on Steve Nash
He got destroyed by John Wall in the 2nd half. I'm sure it's now expected for Nash to not be able to keep up with any PGs, but the way Wall was driving on him or pulling up for mid-range jumpers, I felt like Nash had too much on his plate trying to keep up with the guy.
20% on Kobe Bryant's offense
It was great to see him get to double digit assists in the 1st half, but it's as though his ballhog side had to come into affect in the 2nd half. I understand that when the team's shots aren't falling, Kobe has a tendency to go into "hero" mode, but he can't do it any more. These aren't the 2004-05/2005-06/2006-07 Lakers. He has 3-4 other potential hall-of-famers on the same roster, yet he still has to take more shots than all of them, especially in the 4th quarter. That just shows how much KB24 doesn't trust his teammates.
15% on Kobe's defense
He left Trevor Ariza wide open for practically every made 3pter. All Ariza had to do was stand beyond the arc and for whatever reason, Kobe didn't catch on that leaving the guy open was a terrible idea. Kobe's off-ball defense is pure garbage this year. Trevor made 7 of 12 three-point shots. You'd think by the 2nd or even up to the 4th made basket, Kobe would've known better than to stray away from the guy. Plus, Kobe played with this guy for a couple seasons. Does he not know his former teammate is good for streaky shooting?
Everyone, including myself, raved about Kobe's "incredible" defense on Kyrie Irving on January 13th and on Brandon Jennings a couple nights later, but it's as though he's taken a major step back on the defensive end.
Ooh! He blocked LeBron at the All-Star Game? Twice? Great. Now let's see him do that to some scrubs when the games actually matter.
49.9% on Mike D'Antoni
Dwight Howard didn't get any shot attempts at all in the 4th quarter. That's funny to me. When D12 is the primary scorer, the team is winning. When the game goes to Kobe iso time, suddenly the team is losing.
And where the hell were the defensive adjustments? I can tell Mike D is afraid of Kobe Bryant. Mike seems to struggle telling Kobe to stick to his own man.
Mike was so easy to get on Pau Gasol's case early in the season, but he hasn't said shit to Kobe at all this entire season. What is he afraid of? Losing his job? Well, that's a risk you'll have to take, Mike "No-D"Antoni. Because at this rate, you're probably going to lose your damn job anyway.
0.1% on the rest of the squad
You can't blame them for struggling to get the W. It was insane watching the team dominate the 1st half. I expected a blow out win. Everyone cut to the basket, everyone put in great effort, everyone knew their roles and played their parts well.
Then it became the Kobe show. What's the point of cutting to the basket if you know you're not getting the ball at all? Why try to get yourself open around the 3pt line when Kobe is going to take a very contested mid range jumper instead of look for you? Why exert any energy doing anything off-ball if you know no matter what, the ball isn't coming your way in the 2nd half of the game?
Might as well save your energy for the 1st half of the next game.
I'm 100% confident most of you will say I'm a Kobe hater. That's not the case at all. I grew up watching this guy. He's easily one of my favorite players of all-time. I just have a hard time enjoying watching his go into "Black Mamba ballhog" mode when the Lakers are already struggling to make a $100 million roster look worthy of a $100 million pay stub.
His late game heroics have saved the team a few times this season, such as against the Hornets in that epic 20+ point comeback, but he can't do it every frikkin' time! He needs to learn to trust his teammates or simply accept the fact that he'll be retiring with 5 rings.