There's really no way to teach chemistry. But, for the L.A. Lakers to make a serious run at the playoffs, they'll need to make adjustments both on and off the court as they look for that elusive key to success.
To date, the Lakers of 2012-13 have resembled more of a hodgepodge than a cohesive unit. They often play on different pages, fail to help the helper on defense, take whole possessions off and lose focus when opponents go on runs and widen leads.
The Lakers managed to get their first win of the new year on Sunday, beating the lowly Cavaliers 113-101 at Staples Center. Some might call it a step in the right direction, but if that was their silver lining, the Lakers might think about shredding their current playbook and starting over next fall.
L.A. did play some solid defense, getting contributions from Dwight Howard (14 rebounds), Earl Clark (nine rebounds) and Kobe Bryant, who relentlessly hounded Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving in the first half as the Lakers raced to a 57-45 lead.
But, as a team, the Lakers took just 69 shots to Cleveland's 95. It may have worked for a night against one of the NBA's worst teams, but try putting up 26 fewer shots than teams like Miami, Oklahoma City or the L.A. Clippers and see what happens.
Mike D'Antoni has been trying all sorts of approaches to bring the Lakers out of their malaise. But, just by saying that the new season started Sunday and the Lakers are 1-0 is like saying your chances for winning the Mega Millions Lottery are 100 percent because you bought a ticket today.
The Lakers are working hard to find their chemistry. They are trying to find the most effective and efficient path that will lead them to at least the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
But, time is running out. They may improve their chemistry, but will it be enough and will it be too late?