In their final game before the All-Star break, the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Atlanta Hawks, a team that has won just 19 games this season and doesn’t have a LeBron James, in a 117-113 road loss.
There were a few contributing factors to this loss, but for our purposes, we’ll just go through three of them: defense, layups and effort. Let’s start with defense.
The Lakers allowed the Hawks to score 100 points through three quarters. That’s a lot of points to give up to a team that is ranked 24th in the league in offensive rating.
The Lakers also allowed the Hawks to score 10 3-pointers in the first quarter alone. Ten. Ten of them.
Yes, not having Lonzo Ball on the court has caused their defense to take a step back, but they also just didn’t look like they cared, which bring us to our second point — effort.
No one, and I mean no one, in a Lakers uniform looked like they wanted to be on the court on Tuesday. James put up superstar numbers, ending the night with 28 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds and 3 steals, but to say he did everything he could to help his team win would be inaccurate. Superstar players don’t lose to bottom-five teams on nights where the stakes are as high they were tonight.
Last, but certainly not least, they missed so many freebies at the rim. I don’t have the stat on hand this soon after the game, but if I had to guess just by watching. it was at least 700, give or take a few.
The Lakers will have the next week off before coming back and hosting the Houston Rockets on Thursday, Feb. 21. Don’t be surprised if you see a different head coach on the sidelines when that game rolls around.