LA Lakers: Are the Lakers in Trouble Following Game 1 Loss?
LA Lakers Drop Game 1 In Staples Center, But Are They In Trouble After Loss?
The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves on the losing end of a rather stunning result Monday night at the Staples Center.
Despite controlling the game for much of the first half (and a good portion of the third quarter), the Lakers saw their 16 point lead evaporate in the third and fourth quarters en route to a 96-94 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Granted, much of the blame can fall on Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who dropped 28 points and 14 rebounds on the Lakers, but, the question has to be asked: is L.A. in trouble in this series?
Monday night's result was not terribly inspiring for Lakers fans, particularly when you consider that the team managed to squander a sublime effort from Kobe Bryant. Kobe hit 14 of his 29 shots and scored 36 points on the night, but other than 15 points from Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol, he really didn't get any help. Andrew Bynum struggled all night, Ron Artest was misfiring, and the Lakers' bench delivered a largely uninspired performance.
In other words, things did not go as planned for the Lakers. Of more concern than the poor shooting performance was the Lakers' inability to finish off a game many thought they should have won. They held a seven-point fourth quarter lead, but turnovers and poor shot selection saw it evaporate in a hurry.
For a team who prides themselves on their stretch poise, that's just unacceptable. The mistakes L.A. made down the stretch are not mistakes a veteran, playoff-tested team like the Lakers should be making.
I realize that we can't expect the Lakers to play that poorly on a regular basis. They have too much talent, and if Pau Gasol ever remembers how good he is, they'll get on a big roll. But, the turnovers down the stretch, the poor shot selection in the fourth quarter and the fact that they let Dallas back into this game are all major concerns.
If they're not addressed, Los Angeles will find itself in a big hole heading to Dallas for Game 3, which would be catastrophic to their title defense hopes.
In the end, I think the Lakers will be fine. They're still a veteran club, and they're not one to let a loss like Monday's affect them too profoundly. But, that being said, unless they can avoid those costly turnovers, this series could get a lot more interesting than it already is.
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