Over the last four games for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant has scored 27 points or more, yet the Lakers have struggled enormously. The Lakers have fallen victims to some below-average teams as well some talented teams on their four game slide including the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers and most recently the Houston Rockets.
So why are the Lakers who were 13-2 in their first 15 games struggling all of a sudden?
Statistically, it would be easy to point to Pau Gasol as the major factor for the Lakers's recent struggles. Pau Gasol has averaged just 14.25 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field over the last four games. While Gasol hasn't been terrible, these statistics pale in comparison to his lofty numbers over the course of the season which sit at 20.4 points and 53 percent shooting.
Gasol's recent play can account for a portion of the Lakers's recent slide, but he is certainly not the only problem in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has failed to score more than 100 points in any game during the four game slide. The offensive woes could be traced back to some poor three point shooting.
The Lakers have gone 23-72 from downtown since the losing streak started. Shooting just over 30 percent from the three point line, Los Angeles has been forcing up a lot of three pointers particularly at the end of games when they have fallen behind.
Kobe Bryant has been the biggest perpetrator of three point struggles. Specifically, over the last two games Bryant has gone one for nine from beyond the arc. One major problem has been that Kobe has been trying to do too much. During the slide, Kobe has been driving into crowded areas and turning the ball over or putting up poor shots.
Even though the Lakers have been losing, Bryant has been scoring in droves. Over the course of the last four games, Kobe has averaged 32 points per game, a number even higher than his season average of 26.7 points per game.
The problem has been his shooting percentage. Bryant has shot just over 41 percent from the field over the course of the losing streak. That number may not be that far below his career average of 45.4 field goal percentage, but Bryant has been taking an excessive number of shots lately. Averaging over 25 shots per game, the reduced field goal percentage has an even greater influence on the Lakers's offensive woes.
Los Angeles will have an easy chance to break the losing streak with a game against the Sacramento Kings. Likely, the streak has just been a result of a shooting slump of several Lakers players at the same time; however, only time will tell if there are real problems in Los Angeles.