2011 NBA Playoffs: Why the L.A. Lakers Have Struggled

The Lakers are probably the most frustrating team to watch in the playoffs. They have the talent, both in their personnel and with their coaching staff, yet the team has consistent no-show performances. That's the only thing they've been consistent at all season. 

The Lakers have looked old at times, which isn't surprising considering the miles on Kobe Bryant and several other key players. This core (meaning Kobe, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher) have played heavy minutes for three straight seasons.

The core players have been to the finals three straight times. Both Kobe and Pau have participated for their national teams in the Olympics (though they didn't participate in the world championship last summer), and if you pair that with the Lakers lackadaisical attention span, you'll have ugly losses like LA has demonstrated throughout the season (Cleveland being the most embarrassing loss). 

But the playoffs are considered by many as a second season, and Lakers fans hope that, with the rise of intensity, LA will start to play championship-level basketball. 

After Game 1 against this feisty Hornets team, the Lakers discovered that this bout will not be one-sided. On every possession in Game 1, the Hornets exhibited both passion and intensity, which surprised the Lakers.

They expected a team, without David West by the way, to play dead and New Orleans answered with a gritty win. 

In a physical Game 2, the Lakers tied the series at 1-1, but that was not a dominating performance by the Lakers. With the team's lackadaisical showing in Game 1, fans and media alike expected the Lakers to come out with a commanding win, but that didn't happen.

LA played with energy and passion, but the Hornets matched that early on. In the end, foul trouble and turnovers (despite giving up only three in Game 1) did them in.

The Lakers played well, especially on the defe...

About the Author