L.A. Lakers: In Matters of Defense, the Lakers Are a Little Offensive

The Los Angeles Lakers shot 49 percent from the field, Kobe Bryant had 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined for 50 points and 28 rebounds, and the Lakers still managed to lose to the Phoenix Suns 121-116 on Sunday night.

Come again?

It's hard to imagine a team losing a game when your top three players post numbers like that, unless you are the Golden State Warriors or the New York Knicks, but these are the two-time defending champions we're talking about.

So what has been the reason for the Lakers' recent two-game slump after opening the season with eight consecutive victories?

In a word, defense.

In the past two games the Lakers have surrendered an amazing 233 points, and last night they allowed the Suns to connect on 22 out of 40 three-point shots, which ranks as the second most in NBA history.

Los Angeles is giving up an average of 103.6 points per game, which is eighth in the Western Conference, and their opponents shoot 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point line.

Those are not horrible numbers by any means, but they are not the numbers of a championship defense either.

Most observers felt this year's version of the Lakers had the potential to be one of Phil Jackson's greatest defensive teams, but surprisingly the Lakers seem far more advanced on the offensive end of the floor at this point.

The Lakers lead the NBA in scoring at 112 points per game and they shoot 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. The only problem is, those numbers are far too close to their defensive field goal percentage numbers.

It's easy to forget how good the Lakers were defensively last season, and the fact that defensive consistency was their biggest attribute has been lost in the midst of their early season offensive barrage.

Los Angeles led the NBA in three-...

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