Lakers drill threes but still fall short
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers had stumbled and bumbled enough lately, and they really had to win Sunday night.
After all, had they lost, they would have had the same number of losses as those perennial losers, the Sacramento Kings, and twice as many losses as their upstart roomies down the hall, the L.A. Clippers.
Yet that’s exactly what happened, the Lakers wasting a remarkable shooting effort from the three-point arc and, despite a late rally, falling to the Utah Jazz 117-110.
The loss dropped the Lakers to 9-12, 5½ games behind the 14-6 Clippers in the Pacific Division.
The Lakers can be a mystifying bunch, and they worked themselves into another odd situation Sunday: with 8:30 left in the game, they had made 14 of 22 three-pointers and yet still trailed by 10 points. They finished 15 of 28 from the arc.
A number of problems have plagued the Lakers. They came into this one having lost three of their last four games, and some of the same issues they’ve been having surfaced against Utah.
Center Dwight Howard didn’t get the ball much in the first half and when he did, he wasn’t able to do much with it. He scored just four points on 2-of-5 shooting from the floor. He finished with 11 points.
And, despite some hot shooting by some of the Lakers’ bit players, Kobe Bryant forced some tough shots and was just 3-for-10 in the first half, continuing a recent trend that has seen his shooting percentage steadily drop after an efficient, high-percentage start of the season. He continued to fire away in the second half, finishing with 34 points, but making only 9 of 24 shots.
And the Lakers’ defense was bad enough to allow the Jazz a 35-point second quarter and a 60-point first half.
The Lakers had trouble all night matching up with forward Paul Millsap, who scored 24 points, and guard Mo Williams, who scored 20.
The Lakers were playing their fourth game in a row without forward Pau Gasol, who has been sitting out with knee tendinitis, and their 19th game without point guard Steve Nash, who is … [For more on Lakers drill threes but still fall short against Jazz, click here.]