Though they made a valiant effort, and had a chance to even things up in the dying moments of last night’s game in San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers were once again doomed by their awful defense. The 108-105 loss to the Spurs was the Lakers’ fifth in a row, and their season continues to spiral down the drain. Per the LA Times: “Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in scoring and standing around on defense, idly watching in the third quarter as Danny Green made a three-pointer. Bryant also came up empty on a few misguided steal attempts that might have left his teammates feeling robbed. “We just have to work on our execution,’ Bryant said in a feeble attempt to pinpoint his team’s defensive shortcomings, ‘and keeping guys out of the paint and keeping them out of the middle.’ The Lakers failed to account for much of anyone, ignoring Stephen Jackson as he hit a three-pointer that gave the Spurs 101 points … with 7 minutes 7 seconds left in the game. The Lakers’ defensive indifference in the early and middle portions of the game rendered a late comeback meaningless. ‘When you fall asleep one time it’s too many,’ head coach Mike D’Antoni said, “but when it’s four or five times then you almost have to play a perfect game offensively.’ Time is running out on the Lakers to get this fixed after they gave up at least 100 points for the 17th time in 25 games under D’Antoni, whose defense could be a bigger flop than Mike Brown’s Princeton offense. Maybe D’Antoni should check to see if his predecessor left some of those DVDs on defense around the practice facility. The Lakers have given up 104.2 points per game under D’Antoni versus 98.8 under Brown. Assistant Bernie Bickerstaff should be elevated to defensive coordinator considering that the Lakers yielded an average of 92.2 points in his five games as interim coach. […] Steve Nash pooh-poohed the Lakers’ defensive issues against the Spurs, noting the absence of his team’s primary front line. But even an optimist knows things must change. ‘When we get our big guys back, then there’s no excuses,’ Nash said. ‘We really have to build the defense and do a better job.’ Making the playoffs depends on it.”
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