4 Reasons Why the Los Angeles Lakers Lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Opening Day

Daniel SzewczykCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2012

4 Reasons Why the Los Angeles Lakers Lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Opening Day

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    The highly anticipated debut of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in Los Angeles Lakers uniforms did not go as well as any Lakers player, coach or fan had hoped.

    The Lakers were run out of their own arena by the highly energetic Dallas Mavericks, who left the building with a 99-91 opening-night victory.

    Just about all of the Lakers players struggled in some facet of the game. At least the loss was a team effort!

    Here are the four main reasons why the Lakers lost this game to the Mavericks.

Steve Nash's Sluggish Play

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    Steve Nash played a total of 34 minutes and recorded seven points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the three-point line. He had just four assists, two rebounds and no steals.

    Definitely not one of the sexiest stat lines he's put up during his career.

    In addition to his poor stat line, he appeared sluggish with the ball. Although he only recorded one turnover, he couldn't seem to find a grip on the ball, losing control of it on a number of occasions when faced with even a small amount of pressure from his defender.

    Granted, this was just his first game in a new offense. However, the way he controls the ball should not have been affected by his new surroundings.

Lack of Physical Play

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    I know Pau Gasol is not the strongest man in the world, but he can't continue to allow himself to get outmuscled on almost every possession, regardless of whether it's an offensive or defensive possession.

    Elton Brand and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks big men seemed to have an easy time controlling the paint with Gasol as their defender, while the Mavericks' perimeter players hit some shots that would've been harder to make had their defender put his body on them.

    Many of these players will have to find a way to get tougher on the court with some type of motivation.

    Which leads me to my next point.

Lethargic Play

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    If you don't box out, don't put a hand in your defender's face, let the man you're guarding walk around you and stand pat in one spot on offense, you're going to lose the game 90 percent of the time.

    Simple fundamentals like these are so easy to understand, yet the Lakers just can't seem to grasp them. This has been a problem in years past, and it seems to be a problem again now.

    I thought the addition of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard might light a fire under the Lakers, but that wasn't the case at all, at least not during this game.

    If the Lakers plan on enjoying any success this season, they'll need every player—not just Metta World Peace—to look like he actually wants to be on the court on a nightly basis.

    I don't want to hear that the Lakers are a playoff team and the regular season doesn't matter to them. These athletes make on average $5 million a season, and being in better condition than 99 percent of society, I'm sure that they won't land themselves in the hospital if they break a sweat.

    If the Lakers believe that they'll coast through the regular season and turn their energy meters on once the playoffs roll around, they are in for a rude awakening.

Free-Throw Shooting

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    Making 12 of 31 free throws? Completely unacceptable.

    No matter how bad of a free-throw shooter Dwight Howard is, 3-of-14 is just sad.

    What's equally sad is Jordan Hill, who's usually a decent free-throw shooter, having a 1-of-6 night from the foul stripe.

    This type of stat line can't repeat itself again or teams will start playing Hack-a-Lakers-Center every opportunity they get.

    On another note, the fact that not one Lakers guard attempted a free throw is a sign for concern as well. The Lakers guards need to attack the rim more, or their defenders are not going to give them one inch of breathing space around the perimeter.