Mar 25, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown (center) talks with guard Ramon Sessions (7, left), and forward Metta World Peace (15, right) during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
The Lakers lead the Clippers by 2.5 games in the Pacific Division.
The Los Angeles Lakers showed flashes of brilliance, especially offensively, with new point guard Ramon Sessions. But poor defense and poor effort slowed the week, which ended up with the Lakers treading water with a .500 record.
The Lakers began their week in Houston, where they held a 12-point lead over the Rockets with six minutes remaining. But the hometown Rockets stormed back for a 107-104 win to hand the Lakers another embarrassing road defeat, especially since Andrew Bynum was back in the locker room in the final period after getting ejected with a second technical foul in the third quarter.
The next night in Dallas, the Lakers looked like a different team, playing for 48 full minutes and setting season highs in field goal percentage (58.4%), effective field goal percentage (64.3%), and true shooting percentage (65.9%) in a 109-93 pasting of the defending champion Mavericks on their home floor.
|Field Goal %:||49.7%|
|True Shooting %:||58.0%|
|Tuesday: Houston 107, Rockets 104|
|Wednesday: Lakers 109, Dallas 93|
|Friday: Lakers 103, Portland 96|
|Sunday: Memphis 102, Lakers 96|
The Lakers returned home to battle the Portland Trail Blazers, which marked the first start for Sessions as a Laker. He didn't disappoint, with 20 points and 11 assists, leading the Lakers to another home win in a game in which they had 33 assists for 40 made field goals.
But Sunday against the Memphis, a lackluster effort and poor defense doomed the Lakers, who lost at home for just the fourth time all season. Andrew Bynum had a stellar game with 30 points, but he also had just four rebounds in the loss, a new season low.
Bynum had no double-digit rebound games for the week.
The Lakers offense as a whole was humming for the week, scoring on nearly 1.16 points per possession. But their defense struggled, allowing 1.12 points per possession.
Even with the offense clicking, Kobe Bryant struggled during the week, shooting just 42.9%, though he did make 24 of his 25 free throws and had a 54.0% true shooting percentage, boosted by his 11-for-18 performance against Dallas.
Pau Gasol had an up-and-down week, with hot shooting against Houston and Dallas (23 for 30 field goals, 76.7%) but poor rebounding at 6.5 boards per game, then cold shooting against Portland and Memphis (nine for 29, 31.0%) while cleaning up the boards with 15.0 rebounds per game.
The Lakers have 17 games remaining, and will need to play better if they hope to hold onto their Pacific Division lead and third seed in the Western Conference.
Here are some individual numbers for the week:
- Ramon Sessions: 17.3 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, 78.6% true shooting percentage, 7-for-11 on three-point shots.
- Andrew Bynum: 20.8 ppg, 6.8 rebounds per game, 1.5 blocks per game, 68.8 TS%
- Kobe Bryant: 23.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.8 assists per game, 54.0 TS%, 24-for-25 from the free throw line (96.0%).
- Pau Gasol: 18.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 57.6 TS%
For more news and notes on the Lakers, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.