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Lakers fatigue catching up to them

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers:

  • The Lakers look tired. No one is going to admit it, but the Lakers lacked energy to begin the game, and it's easily attributed to fatigue. The Lakers have played a league-high 14 games and have only had two days of rest since training camp. All teams go through this. But the Lakers will struggle more in this department because of their veteran-laden roster. It's a huge reason why the Clippers outrebounded the Lakers, 50-42.
  • Kobe Bryant put on another dazzling performance with 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting. A poor first half, but the Lakers' offensive issues point more to their lack of identity and chemistry. The Lakers' game tonight showed that they can't depend on Bryant having a good night because the shots won't always fall.
  • The Lakers understandably struggled defending Chris Paul (33 points on 12-for-22 shooting). Add in his ridiculous speed, the Lakers slow reaction on pick-and-rolls and Darius Morris' inexperience, and it's far from surprising the Lakers had a long night.
  • The Lakers and Clippers don't like each other. Lakers Coach Mike Brown was given a technical for being rightfully upset with Clippers forward Blake Griffin delivering a cheap shot on Morris. The Clippers absolutely mauled Matt Barnes, who received a technical in frustration. Metta World Peace nearly elbowed Chris Paul in the head while trying to leave a scrum. And Morris himself picked up a technical while trying to stand up for Josh McRoberts. The two franchises lack similar history, but this should definitely be a fun and contentious matchup throughout the season. 

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Five things to take from Lakers' 102-94 loss to the Clippers

Steve Blake surprised about long-term injury

Photos: Lakers vs. Clippers

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers' balanced effort against Memphis looked ugly

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 90-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday:

  • The Lakers' win against Memphis shouldn't have been that close. But the Lakers committed 27 turnovers, which led to 31 fast-break points. The Lakers (6-4) have averaged 15.6 turnovers through 10 games, so this isn't anything new. But this weakness will hurt them severely if they don't fix it soon. The Lakers simply don't have the athleticism to stop teams in transition. Limiting turnovers will help mitigate that.  
  • Aside from his four turnovers, Kobe Bryant played fantastic. His 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting and nine assists revealed a perfect balance between finding good shots on the elbows, baseline and even throwing down a reverse dunk. It's simply amazing he's able to do this with a torn ligament in his right wrist. 
  • Matt Barnes deserves the starting small forward spot by posting two consecutive double-digit performances. It appears he's healthy and comfortable on the court. He's remained efficient in finding his points off hustle plays and smart cuts. It remains critical that he continues limiting the silly fouls.     

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Mike Brown makes Matt Barnes starting small forward spot permanent

Five things to take away from Lakers' 90-82 victory over Memphis

Lakers vs. Grizzlies game photos

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Kobe Bryant maintains high scoring rate

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 97-90 victory Friday over the Golden State Warriors:

  • The Lakers played a horrific first half played out like another version of the Hangover. They shot 36% from the field, committed 12 turnovers and appeared fatigued from a back-to-back the previous night at Portland. Fortunately for the Lakers, the energy picked up in the third quarter and sparked more offense. 
  • We've seen Kobe Bryant score a lot of points despite the heavy injuries. But it still proves an amazing sight to see. His 39 points on 13 of 28 shooting punctuated his third consecutive game he scored at least 30. In this ongoing debate regarding his shots, it always matters where Bryant takes them. Against Golden State, they mostly came from baseline jumpers and from the mid-to-high post, both areas that play to Bryant's strength. In the locker room, Bryant wore what looked like a giant oven mitt to protect his right wrist. 
  • The pecking order between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have changed. Bryant told me after the game he considers Bynum as the No. 2 option, but that he's going to have to fight through double teams and that Gasol has to maintain aggressiveness. Bynum's nine points on three of nine shooting illustrates that struggle, but he's still giving a good effort with 16 rebounds. Meanwhile, Gasol establishing a good fine line between remaining fine with Bynum's quest for scoring, while ensuring he still capitalizes on his mid-range jumpers.        
  • Matt Barnes played his best game as a Laker, scoring 16 points on seven of nine shooting. He also defended Monta Ellis as well as the circumstances allowed, allowing 18 points on eight of 20 shooting. Barnes is a fiery player and overplays his aggressiveness at times. But he remained professional throughout Devin Ebanks' starts and also lended support. It's good he maintained that perspective because it remains clear Barnes is keeping this spot. Kudos for Metta World Peace for remaining diplomatic about playing only 10 minutes partly because of Barnes' strong play.                                                                                                                                 

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Five things to take away from Lakers' 97-90 win over Golden State

Mike Brown downplays Kobe Bryant's wrist injections

Lakers vs. Warriors: Live updates from the game

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Kobe Bryant changed shot location in Lakers' 108-99 win over Houston Rockets

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 108-99 victory Tuesday over the Houston Rockets:

  • Kobe Bryant scored 37 points on 14 of 29 shooting by adjusting where he took his shots. Both he and his teammates improved setting Bryant up for mid-range and baseline jumpers instead of long-distance heaves. This doesn't suddenly justify Bryant's six of 28 shooting in the Lakers' loss Sunday to Denver. Instead, it showed Bryant's ability to change how he approached his shooting. One of those changes included wearing tape to protect the torn ligament on his right wrist instead of an athletic sleeve
  • Andrew Bynum recorded a 20-20 game for the first time of his six-year career with 21 points and 22 rebounds. It's going to be scary how well he looks once he's fully conditioned
  • The Lakers' bench unit in Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Troy Murphy have strong chemistry.                                                                                                                                    

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Lakers vs. Rockets: Live game updates

Kobe Bryant unapologetic about shot selection in loss to Denver

Things to take away from Lakers' 108-99 victory over Houston Rockets

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 

Lakers' 96-71 victory over Utah Jazz comes at the right time

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 96-71 victory Tuesday over the Utah Jazz:

  • It's hard to gauge to what degree the Lakers' win means. Utah was playing its first regular-season game -- with new personnel -- and simply isn't a good team.
  • The Lakers' win at least boosts their confidence, allowing them to improve using Mike Brown's scheme.
  • Pau Gasol played much more aggressively against Utah than in his previous two games. That aggressiveness was a big factor in the Lakers' success.
  • No one at Staples Center thought Metta World Peace could throw down a one-handed dunk. It remains unclear how much he can maintain double-digit efforts on consecutive nights. But he appears to be fitting in as a bench leader much easier than he did under the triangle offense.

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Metta World Peace's one-handed dunk defies the odds

Things to take away from Lakers' 96-71 victory over Utah Jazz

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers miss opportunity in loss to Bulls

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 88-87 loss Sunday to the Chicago Bulls:

  • The Lakers squandered an opportunity to capture a signature victory. Pau Gasol and Josh McRoberts both missed two free throws. Kobe Bryant committed one of his eight costly turnovers in the last minute. And the Lakers didn't properly defend Derrick Rose on the last shot.
  • The Lakers aren't discouraged, nor should they be. They played well for most of the game. But this clearly shows that hard work alone isn't going to be enough to secure wins against elite teams. 
  • While the Lakers go through this learning curve, they have to continue buying into becoming a grind-it-out team. As the Lakers' season opener showed, it might not result in a win. But with their depleted roster, they have no other choice. 
  • Aside from Bryant's eight turnovers, he appeared solid. His 28 points on 11-of-23 shooting suggests the torn ligament in his right wrist isn't affecting his aggressiveness or shot too much.

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Things to take away from Lakers' 88-87 loss to the Chicago Bulls

Mike Brown expects few limitations from Kobe Bryant

Why Lakers won't make 2012 NBA Finals

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected] Follow the Lakers blog on Facebook.

Lakers have lots of issues to correct

Among the highlights of my breakdown on the Lakers' 114-95 loss Monday to the Clippers:

  • Why the Lakers have plenty to fix on defense, including closing out on the perimeter, sharpening up on transition defense and exerting more effort.
  • Although Pau Gasol (16) and Andrew Bynum (15) each hit double figures, the Lakers appeared uncomfortable establishing their inside game.
  • One bright spot: Kobe Bryant looked much healthier, scoring 15 points on five of 10 shooting and going 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. He still remains a work in progress on defense, though.
  • It's only a preseason game. Don't freak out. But the Lakers clearly show that mastering the offensive and defensive concepts could prove to be a long-term process.

RELATED:

Matt Barnes to start at small forward against Clippers

Six things to take away from Lakers' 114-95 loss to Clippers

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

L.A. Times' Mark Medina on Lakers' 106-90 Game 5 victory over New Orleans Hornets

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

L.A. Times' Mark Medina on Lakers' 109-100 Game 1 loss to New Orleans Hornets

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

L.A. Times' Mark Medina discusses Lakers' 120-106 loss to Oklahoma City Thunder

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

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