LA Lakers Have a Shot If Kendall Marshall Makes His Shots

HOUSTON — You want a metaphor for the current Los Angeles Lakers?

Kendall Marshall’s jump shot.

If everything is firing perfectly, a whole complicated host of unconventional, unheralded variables that tumble into place for the basketball to be shot-put on line and higher than seems possible from such a low, sad starting point … then the Lakers win.

The only game the Lakers have won in their past 10 tries, all without injured Kobe Bryant, was the night of “Marsh Madness”—at home against the Utah Jazz, Marshall’s first start in place of the injured Jordan Farmar. He produced 20 points, 15 assists and one turnover, including the dagger three-pointer from way beyond the arc.

Marshall shot 1-of-6 on three-pointers and 2-of-13 overall Wednesday night in the Lakers’ loss to the Houston Rockets. Many of his jumpers started from that low release point and never found ideal extension to get up and over the rim.

It was the most graphic demonstration to date of Marshall’s much-maligned stroke that had been more than satisfactory with the Lakers, aesthetic beauty aside.

Marshall entered the game 11-of-22 on three-pointers, a fabulous success rate. It’s a credit to him, but it has still hovered as a concern in Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s mind—even though D’Antoni has plenty of other things about which to worry.

The 14-22 Lakers have so little room for error with all their injuries and now just two games (and two losses) into a potentially season-crushing stretch of 10 road games out of 11 before Bryant, Farmar or Steve Nash might return to take the ball out of Marshall’s hands.

For Bryant’s part, he continued his funeral-black-wardrobe choices but perked up enough to grab the game ball during a timeout and do a little dribbling. Couldn’t resist.

Nash, meanwhi...

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