I don’t know why and I certainly don’t know how this could possibly be true, but the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers suffered their worst loss of the season Monday…to Charlotte. The Lakers got blasted 109-89 by the Bobcats, who are now just 24-31. Of all the freaking teams.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, considering that the Lakers have now dropped eight of their past 10 meetings with Charlotte. The team’s previous worst loss was a 104-85 loss to Memphis.
Yes, the Lakers are clearly road weary, as Monday’s contest was the sixth game of a seven-game road trip and followed a tough loss to Orlando on Sunday. And yes, Kobe Bryant was suffering from aches and chills Monday afternoon and missed the team’s shoot-around. But still, this Lakers team has to be able to beat teams like the Bobcats.
The Lakers will wrap up their road trip Wednesday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.
Despite being ill, Bryant played 35 minutes and was 8-of-20 from the field, leading the Lakers with 20 points. Pau Gasol played 36 minutes and finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but no one else really did anything and the Lakers just didn’t play defense.
The Bobcats led 49-43 at the half, and stretched things out to 78-60 after Gerald Wallace hit a 3-pointer at the third quarter’s final buzzer. Wallace finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The sad part of this all is that the Lakers now have a 5-8 record all-time against Charlotte. They only have a losing record against one other franchise, that being the Boston Celtics.
It also sent the Lakers’ record on this road trip to 4-2, after a promising 4-0 start.
So who is these Lakers? Are they capable of pulling off a championship run this June, or is the malaise we’ve seen on the court this year due to the weariness of back-to-back runs to a title.
There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency with this team this year. Maybe they just need the All-Star break to come and help them get healthy. We’ll see.