Los Angeles Lakers' defensive troubles the reason for stuttering start

By David Charnley
Richard Mackson-US Presswire

There have been many problems for the Los Angeles Lakers this season: Dwight Howard‘s continues missing free throws, Steve Nash has been injured for the majority of the season, Pau Gasol has been ineffective and Kobe Bryant has had to be used as the teams unofficial point guard.

The Lakers are the only team in the league which is sitting outside of the playoff places with a better average of points scored each game than what they give up.

Through the opening 21 games the Lakers average 101.8 whilst giving up an average of 98.7 points a game, which is a record that can only be bettered by four teams in the Western Conference, so what is going so wrong?

Offensively, the Lakers should be right up there in the playoff mix, as they are currently the seventh-best shooting from the field at 45.7% and also sit third best from three point shots, 38.8%. When it comes to rebounds, there is only one team with more – the Indiana Pacers with 46.4 compared to the Lakers at 45.9.

The problem clearly shows that the team’s defensive frailties are the reason for their downfall, as they dip to 17th in the league on field goal defense (allowing 44.3% a night).  They’re also the worst free-throw shooting team in the league at 67.8%.

While looking at what the Lakers are doing from a distance, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with the conclusion that the Lakers are struggling; this makes it even more strange that when you look closely the Lakers are among the elite in several areas.

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