The Los Angeles Lakers played one of their worst games of the season on Thursday, collapsing in the second half to lose to the Mavericks. Despite putting in a fairly complete game in the first half, the late-game woes resurfaced, causing a 101-89 loss in Los Angeles.
Here are our takeaways from the game:
D’Angelo Russell may not be putting up the volume of stats that some expected. A lot of fans thought he would be asked to do everything for the team and deliver.
That hasn’t been the case but make no mistake, Russell has had a profound impact on this team. The way D’Angelo is running the offense is indicative of a future elite point guard. Sure, he makes mistakes (namely turnovers and bad defense) but it’s clear that the Lakers are better with him on the court, by a wide margin.
Russell’s stats are solid (15 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals, three turnovers) but they do not accurately describe how well he keeps the offense churning.
This feels impossible to say after the first 20 games of the season, but the Lakers really do have an energy problem. Whether it’s after getting a big lead or after having a bad stretch where everything seemingly goes wrong for them, the Lakers often quit.
Defensively, LA gave up far too many open threes and open dunks. Offensively, they resorted to hero ball and the lack of player and ball movement that was all too common last year.
I don’t think this will be a longstanding issue but for now it’s leading to a lot of losses. As they become more experienced, the Lakers will learn to not take any teams for granted (even the 9-win Mavs without two rotation players) and they will learn to sustain a consistent level of effort all game.
The Lakers spoiled us with a 10-10 start to the year. It’s that simple.
Coming into the season, nobody believed this team would be very good. The most optimistic of fans predicted about 30 wins. The pace at which they started the season was always unsustainable but it made fans believe this could be a playoff team.
There are going to be frustrating times with this team but that was always expected. My recommendation to all of you is this: enjoy this team for what it is – a young team full of potential with entertaining players that can eventually grow into something but who are now far too inexperienced and raw to be a shoe-in for a win against any team.
@LakersOutsiders we suck and Mitch kupchack gonna blow this experiment up
— Ali isa (@aliisa97) December 30, 2016
— Brian Bird (12-23) (@BViper24) December 30, 2016
@LakersOutsiders we have to explore trading a few of the young guys for a star. Now.
— colbz (@colbykobe84) December 30, 2016
@LakersOutsiders this game screams for putting Metta back in that starting lineup.
— DKV (@DK_Velasco) December 30, 2016