L.A. Lakers Stung by New Orleans Hornets: Another Sign of Trouble?

The Lakers for the second game in their four-game road trip fell behind big early. And like against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they lost decisively, without even a bite.

Fans of the Lakers dynasty from 2000 to 2002 will remember how the second one is always tougher to get, especially during the humdrum regular season games. But despite a 48-26 stuttering before the postseason, the Lakers that year went on to win 23 straight en route to another championship.

This year, not so sure.

The Lakers' tendency to play down to their competition during the regular season is well documented, but this season, the problem has become second nature.

Against the Hornets, despite holding a 48-40 rebounding edge (19-8 on offensive glass), the Lakers let the Hornets dictate the tempo of the game. The same thing has happened in blowout losses to the Nuggets, Mavericks, Cavaliers, and Thunder.

Again and again the opposing point guards (be it Collison or Paul) exploit the Lakers' old Fisher and the post is exposed, but the main culprit lies in a weak team defense that fails to help out and rotate quickly enough. Yes, Pau, I'm calling you out.

Granted, Andrew Bynum is out, but Gasol should man up against big men like Okafor who are clearly inferior to him.

Odom continues to be about as inconsistent as my cooking. One night he goes for coast-to-coast thunderous dunks, the next he lays an egg.

Aside from the Mamba, this team, despite the addition of Ron Artest, lacks that same killer instinct they possessed last year.

But you know what? This may be a blessing in disguise. The Lakers have suffered humiliating losses to the Cavs, Nuggets, Raptors, Rockets, Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies, and now the lowly Hornets.

The Cavaliers have been, like last year, stomping the regular season opposition. No real tests except for maybe the February encounter against the Lak...

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