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Three things plaguing the Lakers' defense

December 20, 2011 | 11:37 am

Chris Paul drives between Metta World Peace, left, and Pau Gasol during the Clippers-Lakers exhibition game.

1. Effort.It didn't take long for Mike Brown's happy-go-lucky attitude to evaporate. After the Lakers' 114-95 exhibition loss Monday to the Clippers, Brown was so incensed with the team's defensive effort that he wished he had more timeouts to use to further instruct his players.

That was mostly evident in the Lakers' failure to close out on the perimeter. The Clippers went 13 of 28 from three-point range. Many, particularly Kobe Bryant, gave the Clippers too much space to move off-the-ball and started to play defense only after their man had the ball. Oftentimes, that reaction proved to be too late.

"We had guys tonight not even contest shots, look at shooters and allow them to shoot what I call H-O-R-S-E shots, the shots you shoot in your backyard growing up when no defense is on you," Brown said. "We gave up too many of those shots tonight, and we have to do a better job of getting effort first before we even get to what we’re trying to do conceptually on the defensive end of the floor."

2. Conditioning. It may be reactionary to take much from one horrible exhibition game. But it's not a stretch to remain concerned about the Lakers' conditioning considering they're a veteran-laden squad. But the Lakers showed little effectiveness in stopping Chris Paul (17 points), getting back in transition on defense and playing at an up-tempo style.

It's unrealistic to expect the Lakers to match the speed of the Clippers or the Oklahoma City Thunder. But they clearly showed they're hardly in the right condition to even alleviate some of the damage fast teams brings.

"After the first six minutes I was heavily winded," Lakers center Andrew Bynum said, "so in practice I'm going to get up and down the court."

3. More offensive familiarity. Don't be blinded by the double-figure points by Pau Gasol (16) and Bynum  (15). For an offense that's centered on giving them plenty of touches inside, the Lakers failed miserably. They didn't appear comfortable knowing how to set up the offense. In turn, the Lakers' post players appeared unfamiliar on where they should establish position. 

"I don't know exactly where to be," Bynum said. "It's different than running the triangle. It's tough for me. I don't understand how to run the top of the floor yet. Once we get up and down the floor in practice, we'll be good."

Likewise, the Lakers' tentativeness on offense also contributed to their 21 turnovers. That played a large part in the Clippers' scoring 29 points off those turnovers and outscoring the Lakers, 36-17, in the third quarter.

"In that stretch of the game we turned the ball over way too much and gave up a lot of easy points in the paint," Bryant said. "We pride ourselves on being a good defensive team. That's our staple, so we have to do a much better job."


Magic Johnson says Kobe, Gasol, Bynum need to step up

Pau Gasol says nothing to Chris Paul

Kobe Bryant appears sharp in Lakers' 114-95 loss to Clippers

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Chris Paul drives to the basket on Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol during the Clippers' 114-95 preseason victory over the Lakers on Monday night. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images)