Diagnosing the Real Problems Plaguing the LA Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers can score. Like a lot. But they can't prevent other teams from doing the same and that's this team's fatal flaw.

Much is made of the Lakers' potential on offense, about how they should be outgunning opponents on a nightly basis. That said, not enough is made of the fact that even amidst Pau Gasol's struggles and Steve Nash's current need for adjustment, Los Angeles still boasts a potent offensive attack.

Currently, the Lakers are scoring at a rate of 108.7 points per 100 possessions, the sixth-best mark in the league. That puts them ahead of younger, higher octane teams like the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.


Offense isn't the problem—defense is.

At present, Los Angeles is allowing opponents to drop 106.6 points per 100 possessions, the 10th-most in the league. The Lakers are also allowing fewer points per 100 possessions with Dwight Howard on the bench as well, a startling realization when you consider the impact he had on the Orlando Magic's defense only last season.

Almost needless (but not quite) to say, Howard (via Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com) isn't happy with what's taking place in the Land of Make Believe right now:

"Those guys on the Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows," Howard said Saturday after Lakers practice.

And how about the Lakers? Do they have that chemistry?

"It's something we have to do to get better," he said. "We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don't want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table."

Arguing against Howard's interpretation of the Lakers' problems is futile, because he's right.

Los Angeles must respect the craft of each of ...

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