The Bobcats were all over the Lakers on Friday night.
The Charlotte Bobcats showed their claws and took a big swipe at the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, coming away with a 110-100 victory and a big chunk of the Lakers' dwindling ego.
Led by center Al Jefferson (40 points, 18 rebounds) and his mammoth paws, the Bobcats dashed the hopes of any Lakers fans clinging to the idea that its recent woes could be blamed more on the time away from home than the subpar basketball on display for this storied franchise.
Gasol led the Lakers with 24 points, and Nick Young contributed a solid 21 points, but there just wasn't enough support for the Lakers, both on the court, and apparently, in the stands.
This is the first time the Lakers have suffered at least 30 losses before Feb. 1 since the 1966-67 season when they went 21-32.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 1, 2014
Facts like these illustrate how the Lakers are mired in a historic nadir, and their showing against the Bobcats—a franchise that often has very little to write home about after time on the road—is just another confirmation that these are unwelcome times for many fans in Lakerland.
Here are four major takeaways from the Lakers deflating defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats.
One team's (the Lakers) trash heap of a game can still be another's treasure, and the Al Jefferson was the biggest gem for the Bobcats as he displayed his full range of moves with his 40 point, 18 rebound performance.
The above clip is a classic montage of Al Jefferson dominating the left side of the paint, where he has set up timeshares on in 30 different NBA courts. He lives and dies in this area and tonight his deft footwork and ability to get his shot off from awkward angles was on full display.
This shot location chart, via vorped.com, shows just how many more shots Jefferson takes from the left side of the paint.
Jefferson spent most of the early part of the season hobbled by injuries, but when he has played he has been exactly what the Bobcats needed when they signed him to that generous contract.
It is obvious he still plays favorite to this area, but he is capable of being a solid centerpiece for the Bobcats and can lead them out of the doldrums on certain nights and out of the unenviable regions of the NBA standings currently occupied by teams like the Lakers.
D'Antoni's defensive system has proven futile for the Lakers this season.
Then again, you can take another look at that video from the last slide and notice just how little help defense the Lakers demonstrate. Jefferson had his way one-on-one in the post, and Mike D'Antoni did little to adjust to this constant source of scoring for the Bobcats.
These are the kind of gaps in adjustments and defensive scheming that allow a stagnant offense like the Bobcats to shoot 58 percent on the night.
Few teams have their offenses go dry against the Lakers, as this tweet from Arash Makani points out. This isn't a recent trend for the Lakers, or for Coach D'Antoni, who did describe his team's play as "lifeless" via Phil Collin of presstelegram.com.
110 points to a team that sets the bar low enough that the Lakers could give its fans free Jack-in-the-Box tacos (for holding a team under 100 points) and the Bobcats would still reward their own fans for that same performance.
Cats score 90+pts! That means 50% off @PapaJohns all day tomorrow with code BOBCATS90. Offer applies to all participating NC & SC locations.— Charlotte Bobcats (@bobcats) February 1, 2014
Just another bad sign that the Lakers are giving up too many points, and allowing teams known for lackluster offensive games to do it.
Gasol battles Jefferson, but is ultimately bested by the big Bobcat.
Pau Gasol was outclassed by Jefferson on the night, but still managed to hold his own with a solid 24 points and 10 rebounds.
As this video from Lakers Nation shows, Gasol still believes that the he and the Lakers are playing for pride during this tough stretch, something that speaks to his character and professionalism throughout this tough season.
But few good things are built to last.
Gasol told me he was concerned about his groin injury. "I just can't move the way I need to." Was almost emotional about it. Wants to play— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 1, 2014
Gasol is set to undergo an MRI for his injured groin, as per ESPN.com's Ramon Shelburne.
If the big Spaniard is hobbled for any extended period of time, the Lakers are in for darker days than the Hollywood Nights jerseys they wore in tonight' deflating loss.
Robert Sacre is unable to tame the Bobcats
The abject performance combined with the looming prospect of a lame Gasol means the Lakers are desperate for some of its players to return from injury.
The above photograph perfectly encapsulates how the Lakers so often seem overwhelmed and outnumbered this season.
Robert Sacre is a career benchwarmer at best, but played 15 minutes against the Bobcats and is averaging 13.5 minutes per game this season—more than double the amount of minutes he averaged last year (6.3).
Ryan Kelly, who was drafted in the second round and expected to be brought along slowly, played 33 minutes against the Bobcats, and averages a staggering 27.8 minutes over his last 10 games. All this from a guy who hardly shed his warmups during the first quarter of the season.
A short term solution in the front court would be for D'Antoni to bring Chris Kaman back into the rotation, but he was another DNP (did not play) due to a coach's decision against the Bobcats.
As for the backcourt, this tweet from Kendall Marshall should be at least a glimmer of hope for L.A. fans.
But the Lakers still need bodies if they want to make a more than feeble attempt at competing the rest of the season, and the returns of Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, and Xavier Henry would be more than welcome for this tired Lakers side.