ATLANTA– The Lakers are still without a point guard, so their offense can struggle at times. On Monday night in Atlanta, it was their defense that failed them.
Los Angeles controlled the game for the first half, and they looked like they could be finding an identity with Kobe back. In the third quarter, they fell apart, and the Hawks were able to get whatever they wanted. They ran away with the game, and ended up with a 114-100 win. It’s easy to tell that Mike D’Antoni wasn’t happy after the game.
“We struggled tonight [on offense]. At one point the ball stopped [moving],” D’Antoni proclaimed after the game. The Lakers held a double-digit lead early in the third quarter, but they were picked apart due to lack of effort. “We did not compete in the second half the way [the Hawks] did,” the embattled coach said, “Hopefully tomorrow we can correct that. We have to compete. Everybody plays the same schedule. We can’t sit there and feel sorry for ourselves. Until we get guys back, we still have to compete.”
Without rim protection, the Lakers need to force steals and give full effort if they want to stop teams. So far, they have not done so, and it shows that the Lakers have a ceiling–and it’s not very high. When asked about the defense, D’Antoni simply said, “We have to play better defense.”
I think that’s obvious.