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NBA Power Rankings: Lakers Fall To Fifth After Two Home Losses

A pair of losses last week proved costly to the Los Angeles Lakers, not only in the standings, but also in the latest NBA power rankings on SB Nation. After a 1-2 week the Lakers dropped to fifth place in the latest rankings, down from fourth last week. The Lakers began their week on a high note, drubbing the Utah Jazz by 29 points, sending Utah to their 17th straight loss at Staples Center. However, the Lakers' defense took the rest of the week off.

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The Lakers fell behind by as many as 20 points in the third quarter Friday night at home to Sacramento (who is 12-33, by the way), and while the Lakers made a valiant comeback to cut the lead to three points late, it was too little too late. Then, on Sunday, the Celtics shot 60.3% against the Lakers, and had 34 assists on 44 field goals made in their convincing win. Tom Ziller at SB Nation found a culprit in the Lakers' defensive regression this season:

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There's a clear blame target for the Lakers' shot defense slide, though: the point guard position. That means Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, who have each seen opposing point guards shoot 51.4 percent (effective field goal percentage) against them. Last season, the Lakers allowed opposing PGs to shoot 48.5 percent. That's a massive regression, and in case you forgot, the West is chock full of incredible point guards.

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The Clippers, who won once at home and lost twice on the road last week, not only lost their leading scorer in Eric Gordon, but also fell in the power rankings from 20th to 21st. Blake Griffin and company won last night, but have a tough schedule to end their week: home against Chicago, then they start their 11-game road trip in Atlanta and Miami.

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For more local NBA news be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll and Clips Nation.