Lakers' bigs ineffective in the paint vs. Clippers

Harry How

It's become a recurring theme for the Lakers -- opponents are getting too many easy buckets in the paint. It was all too apparent vs. the Clippers on Friday night. How do they fix it?

The Los Angeles Lakers gave up 52 points in the paint against the Los Angeles Clippers and lost on Friday night, 107-102.

Beyond the box score, the Lakers struggled to defend against the team speed and athleticism brought on by the Clippers. The Lakers have struggled all season long to stop the younger, faster teams across the league. That was apparent on Friday as they appeared overmatched physically.

"A lot of it was really just transition," said Kobe Bryant following the game. "They're just extremely athletic and they did a good job running and getting out and getting momentum points and getting easy baskets."

The 2012-13 season has been one giant mystery for the purple and gold. How do the Lakers go about countering the physical gifts of the best team in L.A. and other teams with similar attributes around the Western Conference?

They've struggled with allowing points inside, and Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have proven ineffective as the first line of defense has been beaten routinely while their rotations to help have often come too late. The Lakers' defensive woes don't end inside, however. They are 25th in the NBA in opponents' points per game, allowing 100.3 points on average.

The Lakers won't outrun anyone. Their improvement on defense, particularly inside, will come with communication and attention to detail. In other words, they'll need to be wiser than the youngsters they find themselves going up against on a nightly basis.

Added Bryant, "We just have to get really intense, really serious, really focused."

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