LA Lakers Wasting Kendall Marshall’s Breakthrough with Terrible Defense

Sunday night could have been a real feel-good story for Kendall Marshall. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers’ abysmal defense against an average team sank the ship.

The Denver Nuggets beat the Lakers, 137-115. Considering just how bad things have been for the Purple and Gold lately, there are some positive takeaways—at least for a draft bust recently called up from the D-League.

Marshall had 17 assists against the Nuggets on Sunday in just his second start for the Lakers. On Friday, he had 15 assists against the Utah Jazz, along with 20 points. At least that one was a win.

From the Associated Press for ESPN, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had this to say about the loss:

It's tough. There's no sugarcoating it. We're in a hole, and we put ourselves in this hole. We'll get guys coming back (from injury). We just have to keep playing hard, keep your head down, go through it.

From the same source, Marshall also mentioned the obvious:

"I think we kind of unraveled a bit, and they kept coming and kept scoring and kept hitting difficult shots.”

At least Marshall is now back in the NBA. If only the injury-plagued Lakers hadn’t been out-rebounded by 20 on Sunday. If only they hadn’t given up 30 fast-break points.

The game started on a positive note at least, with three of Pau Gasol’s field goals coming off assists from Marshall. Gasol had an active first quarter with 12 points, finishing the night with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Marshall had five assists in the first quarter alone.

The Lakers went into halftime with a one-point lead. Unfortunately, the wheels came off the bus in the second half. The Lakers were outscored by 11 points in the third quarter and 12 points in the fourth.

On the other hand, the Lakers’ defense in the second half resembled a leaky sieve. There&rsq...

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