The Lakers tried to win with a run-and-gun offense this season, and last night's loss to the Denver Nuggets is a sign that the team's quest for a championship will fail so long as this philosophy is employed.
Playing at the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets were in control from the get-go and won 119-108 thanks to 23 points from Wilson Chandler. Los Angeles made a run in the second half, but 15 turnovers damned the Lakers, who failed to reach .500 and now face an uphill battle in making the playoffs.
I hate to say it, but it's just not going to happen in 2013.
Consider the Nuggets, a team that runs on George Karl's sometimes fast-paced offense while also having a strong defensive presence. Denver ranks third in scoring and 26th in points allowed, but being second in rebounding gives them a unique edge.
This is because as opposed to a conventional run-and-gun game, like Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni uses, the Nuggets instead use something called a dribble-drive offense. Much like the Princeton offense, only the center plays the post while everyone else is on the perimeter.
The only major difference is that for a majority of the scoring, any and all players will drive to the basket for the shot, thus the Nuggets' high rebounding numbers. The Lakers rank fourth in rebounding, but their offense is very jump shot and pick-and-roll based, with many attempts coming in seven seconds or less.
The Lakers have struggled to effectively defend this type of offense all season long, and their overall weakness on defense is the main reason they will not make the playoffs this season. Losing to Denver last night is just the icing on the cake.
Unless D'Antoni is willing to switch up his offense and not use the same attack possession after possession, the Lakers are essentially doomed to miss the postseason for the first time since 2005. The Nuggets defeating them proved that there is a right way to having a fast-paced offense, and that the Lakers' version of it is anything but that.
Seeing as how D'Antoni is unlikely to adjust his approach over the last six weeks of the season, Lakers fans should prepare themselves for a long offseason.