Los Angeles Lakers Stumble on the Road to a Three-Peat

Getting their seven-game winning streak snapped by their Staples Center rivals the Clippers, 99-92, today was disappointing. But worse yet is what the Lakers have failed to do even during their winning streak.

Today, the Clippers outrebounded the Lakers 50-45, 15-11 on the offensive boards.  In their win over New Jersey the other night, the Nets bested them on the boards 45-38, 15-7 at the offensive end.

The Clippers also outshot the Lakers from beyond the arc, nine of 21 to three of 20. The same thing happened in the Lakers’ win against Golden State the other night. The Warriors hit on 13 of 30 three-pointers while the Lakers were just five of 16. In their 99-95 win against the Suns, Phoenix hit on 11 of 23 three-point shots to only six of 23 for the Lakers.

What is more disturbing than their lack of hitting on three-point shots is their three-point shot defense. Last year, they were the best in the league. This season, they are still among the top five in three-point defense and rebounds, but they are beginning to slip.

And that could spell real trouble for the Lakers down the road.

Besides rebounds and three-point shooting, the Clippers also bested the Lakers in points off turnovers, fast break points, points in the paint and assists. 

The Lakers committed 14 turnovers to the Clippers 11. The Clippers turned those turnovers into 23 points to just nine for the Lakers. The Clippers had 21 fast break points to 11 for the Lakers. 

But the biggest areas of concern, points in the paint and assists, were won handily by the Clippers. They outmuscled the Lakers 44-34 in the paint and had 28 assists to only 12 for the Lakers.

If that’s not an ominous sign, I don’t know what is.

Just as ominous was Kobe Bryant’s remark after the game.

"We just didn't put up much of a fight," said Bryant, whose 14 third quarter points ...

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