The Los Angeles Lakers puttered out quietly in the second half and proceeded to get blown out Tuesday night by the Indiana Pacers, 118-98. It was another bizarre coaching performance by one Mike D’Antoni, which has become all too common this year. He is suddenly playing a 10-man rotation and even played 11th man Robert Sacre for a six-minute stretch at the end of the contest.
Jordan Hill, who has clearly been showing signs of life lately, managed to only get 10 minutes, and this was against one of the most imposing front-lines in the NBA — go figure. Kendall Marshall, who has been putting up prodigious numbers, has seen his minutes go from the mid 40s to just 23 and 18 in the last two games. That’s just a huge reduction; I could understand cutting it back a touch, but that is pretty drastic.
D’Antoni’s best coaching trick is after the Lakers make a shot, he proceeds to yell at his players who are getting back on defense “Let’s go! C’mon D, Let’s go!” Other than that he doesn’t seem to give much strategical input on that side of the floor. Ryan Kelly looked to be out of the rotation after receiving a DNP-CD last game against the Brooklyn Nets, but he found himself playing 15 minutes on Tuesday, more than Hill and Chris Kaman.
Kent Bazemore was rotting on the end of the Golden State Warriors‘ bench, but now he has the distinction of being the Lakers’ leader in minutes (39) and field goal attempts (19) against the Pacers. At the end of the day I kind of get it; D’Antoni wants to get a look at everybody and continue to give opportunities to players who are on the last year of their contract.
However, there is this incredible element of randomness with the lineups and minute distribution from game to game. When this continues to occur, there is no chance for any rhythm or continuity to develop within the team and as a result you get a team that is dead last in the NBA in turnover differential. The players are all confused on what is going on, as this continues to show D’Antoni lacks the communication skills to get respect from players at this level.