THE BLOG
12/12/2012 09:18 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2013

D'Antoni's Defense Is Destroying Lakers Playoff Hopes

AP

Well it's no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Mike D'Antoni isn't the biggest motivator when it comes to playing defense. Although he has been a part of many offensively-gifted teams, it seems as though it might be time to change the way things are flying in the City of Angels.

Just when it looked as if nothing could get worse for a struggling Lakers team, it seems it has come to an all-time low for the 16-time NBA Champions. The Lakers fell to one of the NBA's worst teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road Tuesday night, 100-96, behind 28 points & 11 assists from Kyrie Irving. This marks the Lakers third straight loss.

But the disappointment isn't coming from the Lakers' offensive ability, since Kobe Bryant led the team with a season-high 42 points while Dwight Howard helped with 19 points and 20 rebounds, it's looking like the pathetic efforts on the defensive end of the ball.

Where they lost the game was on the end of an abundance of first half turnovers. In the first half alone the Lakers had 13 turnovers, missed 15 free throws (25-for-40, 62.5 percent) and had a lack of ball movement (only 11 assists) which proved why they're 19th in the NBA in assists-per-game.

The Lakers finished the game tying a season-high with turnovers in the first half and ended the game with 18 miscues. However, according to Coach D'Antoni they work on defense constantly. So much so, that it left him frustrated after the contest and in the post-game press conference. While speaking to T.J Simmers of the Los Angeles Times, D'Antoni snapped and muttered "you're starting to piss me off," after the journalist drilled him on the apparent defensive problems plaguing the franchise.

For disappointed Lakers fans this season, the feeling has to be mutual.

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road so far this season and currently 9-13 overall while being placed third in the Pacific Division behind the hot-shooting LA Clippers and one of the early dark horses of the Western Conference this season, the Golden State Warriors.

As the Lakers continue to struggle defensively and stumble over the offensive sets D'Antoni has set in place for them, the focus starts to appear on the injuries of the team (Nash, Gasol) and their future options at point guard with their All-Star guard sidelined. With rumors spiraling about Eddie House or Delonte West possibly returning to the league or even a possible trade, there is more front office focus than on-court basketball business being handled in Los Angeles.

With playoff hopes fading for the Lakers, the team needs to get their act together, and fast. The City of Angels might just be a correct nickname for the club offensively (7th in NBA in scoring) but it's looked rather ghoulish on the other side of the ball. And the worse part about it is that the Lakers are now 1-10 when Bryant scores 30 or more points this season.

If only Phil Jackson was here.