24 Jan

‘It’s over for excuses’

The Los Angeles Lakers’ inconsistent form continued on Friday with a 130-112 loss at home to the Brooklyn Nets. After taking a six-point lead into the break, they were outscored by 24 points in the second half, which prompted some sharp words from head coach Darvin Ham.

“Talk about the tale of two different halves,” Ham said. “That first half is what we’re working towards… And then the inconsistency showed up and reared its head in the second half… We have to decide which team we’re gonna be.”

“It’s over for the excuses,” Ham continued. “We got to play basketball.”

After a strong start to the season, which culminated in winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament in December, the Lakers have largely struggled. They’re 7-13 since the IST championship game, with multiple four-game losing streaks during this stretch. There have been positive flashes, including wins over the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in recent weeks, but they haven’t been able to build on those performances.

The last time they won more than two games in a row was early December, and Friday night’s loss to the Nets was a microcosm of their issues.

In the first half the ball was popping (20 assists on 26 field goals and just four turnovers), they dominated in the paint (13-of-18 in the restricted area and 32 paint points) and knocked down open 3s (8-of-18). There was none of that in the second half. Their offense was a disaster, and because they weren’t locked in on the other end, they were eventually run out of the gym.

Perhaps the most damning aspect of the defeat was that their body language was so bad as things were falling apart that Doc Rivers even made note of it during the broadcast. They went from being on top of the world to down in the dumps in the span of a few hours.

With the loss, the Lakers fell back under .500 at 21-22, and are clinging to the 10th and final Play-In Tournament spot. At the close of Friday’s action they are half a game ahead of the 11th-place Houston Rockets and 1.5 games up on the 12th-place Golden State Warriors.

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