HANG TIME TEXAS – So what do you think: Andre Drummond to L.A. with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and Harrison Barnes to the Dallas at No. 2?
After all, two days into a rapid-fire schedule already finds the Lakers and Mavericks a combined 0-4 and fans in two NBA cities walking toward the cliff.
In those old black-and-white monster movies, this is the scene where Dr. Frankenstein barricades himself inside his laboratory while the villagers come storming angrily up the path carrying lit torches.
But really, does anyone need reminding that it might be just a bit early to be reaching for the panic button? After all, though we’re talking about a couple of veteran teams that have made significant roster changes.
The defending champion Mavs are missing six different faces from the combination that was responsible for hoisting that banner on Christmas Day at the American Airlines Center, while the Lakers are learning to adjust to life without Lamar Odom, missing the suspended Andrew Bynum and mixing in a newc oach.
Count Kobe Bryant, for one, as not worried, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“No,” he said after seeing the Kings finish the night on an 11-4 run to blow back open a game that Sacramento had led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter before the Lakers cut it to just two with 4:24 remaining.
Bryant, who preached positivity Sunday after the Lakers had a different set of fourth-quarter difficulties as they blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead against the Chicago Bulls, did his best to maintain a sunny outlook.
“It will kick in,” Bryant said. “There’s a certain amount of repetitions I guess. I don’t read those damn books (but they say) there’s a certain amount of repetitions you have to go through and we’ll go through them and we’ll be better.”
On the bright side, after they return home tonight to face the Jazz at Staples Center (10:30 ET, TNT), the Lakers will have their only back-back-to-back set of this unusual schedule out of the way and will be 3/4 of the way through Bynum’s four-game suspension.
On the other hand, it would be nice to see the Lakers do a better job of closing out games, as Mark Medina noted in the L.A. Times:
In the season opener, the Lakers blew an 11-point lead with two minutes left in the game. In the second game, the Lakers cut their deficit to two points after trailing by 14. Yet, they still blew it.
The Lakers made ridiculous mistakes in the final minutes that could’ve ensured them a victory. The Lakers made one field goal in the final 3:48. The Lakers granted the Kings seven free throws in the final three minutes. And they lacked the ball movement that led them to cutting the lead in the first place.
Forget any learning curve. These mistakes have nothing to do with a system. It has everything to do with the Lakers lacking fundamentals and losing their late-game composure. The result: the Lakers are 0-2 for the first time since 2002.
Meanwhile back on the ranch of the 2011 NBA champs, the atmosphere went from the celebratory banner-raising on Sunday to loudly booing the Mavs in the second quarter of Monday night’s loss to Denver. But our good buddy Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News points out that the Mavs’ coach is saying the buck stops with him.
“I’m the head coach and it’s my job to make sure these guys are ready to play – and it’s clear that they’re not,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Right now that’s something that’s not easy for me to say and it’s not easy to live with. I got a lot of work to do.
“It’s on all of us, but it’s on me more than anybody. I’ve got to have these guys ready to play.”
One of the primary guys Carlisle has to get ready is one of the newest Mavs, Odom, who has scored just two buckets in two games and, at this rate, will finish the season with just 66 field goals.
All in all, it’s been an ugly start for the pair of elite Western Conference team and things might only get uglier in the near future. Bryant’s legs will get tested with his third game in three nights against the Jazz and the Mavs next time out comes Thursday at Oklahoma City.
Let’s hear it: are the Lakers or Mavs in deeper trouble? And barring the relocation of Dwight Howard to either L.A. or Dallas, can either contend in June?