The recent losses suffered by the Los Angeles Lakers, bring to light the problems in the team.The Lakers have gone from being a David to become a Goliath, the swagger is gone. Not surprisingly it’s the Lakers, who are the underdogs in this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 119-90 thrashing the Lakers received at the hands of the Thunder, came close to being the worst loss in their playoff history. But the history was on their side, they had a 25-11 record following a double-digit loss, including a 10-2 mark during the 2011-12 campaign.That changed though, as Lakers lost the second match 77-75.
Kobe Bryant is not averse to shouldering the burden of scoring for the Lakers, he has been doing that for so many years now. He averaged 28 points per game coming into this series, but has managed only 20 in both the games so far, often donning the role of a distributor for long stretches during the game. In fact in the second game all the assists in the first quarter belonged to him. So what is the problem with the Lakers? despite having three legitimate All-Stars and a playoff resume that can put almost the entire league to shame, why did they lose by 29 points in the first game and then lose composure in the second, effectively allowing the Thunder to run away with the game? The reason is quite simple.The Lakers have no depth. The Lakers big three of Bryant, Bynum and Gasol are not as effective as they can be, inspite Bynum had his best season statistically. It is becoming evident to even the most die hard Laker fans now that Bryant is incapable of running the Lake Show alone, like he has been doing for the past so many years. This means that Bynum and Gasol need to step up. The problems of the Lakers cannot be solved without overhauling their roster. The point guard spot has been a chink in the Lakers Armour, and a 33-year old shooting guard, dishing out assists is not quite how the Lakers want their offense to function. Ramon Sessions, has struggled heavily in these playoffs, and its probably time to try to lure Deron Williams to the Laker land during the off-season.
If we actually observe the games, the only person who plays with energy is Jordan Hill, who has been quite a revelation this season. A better backup for Kobe should help him. The Lakers bench is among the worst in the league and it reflects in the abysmal three point shooting they have. Oklahoma city is a great team but are coming of age. To let them go on a 9-0 run in a tight game, is a mistake the Lakers as under dogs cannot afford to make. They now face a daunting 2-0 deficit with back to back games looming on their heads. This means more mileage to the already tired legs of Bryant who has been a shadow of himself this series, with mediocre offensive performances, and his defense being shredded by Westbrook in the first game.
Whether the Lakers will pull themselves out of this hole or not remains to be seen. But if they really want to get back in contention they have to do some massive reconstruction. The Western Conference can be brutal on weaker teams, as they may find out if they get knocked out in the second round for the second year running. If that happens, the Laker fans will be less forgiving than ever with the Clippers rise becoming evident due to Chris Paul. Till then lets hope The Goliath remains the Goliath and David remains David.