Basketball: Lakers hit rock bottom

Pierre Jackson of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket against Ivica Zubac of the LA Lakers. The Dallas Mavericks crushed the LA Lakers 122-73.
Pierre Jackson of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket against Ivica Zubac of the LA Lakers. The Dallas Mavericks crushed the LA Lakers 122-73.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The 73-122 capitulation to Dallas represents their worst-ever loss in franchise history

DALLAS • The Los Angeles Lakers have endured some low points in recent seasons, but the nadir occurred on Sunday.

The Dallas Mavericks used a strong second quarter to pull away and hand the Lakers their worst loss in franchise history, a 49-point, 73-122 thrashing at American Airlines Centre.

It's ironic that this franchise nadir coincides on the same day as when their former icon Kobe Bryant poured in his signature 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors exactly 11 years ago.

Nobody would have blamed the Lakers on Sunday if they had walked off the court at half-time, being already 34 points down, made a beeline for the team bus and bolted to the airport for a flight home.

First-year Lakers coach Luke Walton offered no excuses after a loss he described as "embarrassing".

  • 49

  • The Los Angeles Lakers' 49-point losing margin to the Dallas Mavericks was the worst in their history, on a day marking the 11th anniversary of retired legend Kobe Bryant's 81-point scoring effort.

"We didn't show up to play, honestly, which is frustrating," he said. "And honestly it's embarrassing - for us as a team, for us as an organisation, for our Lakers fans that are so good to us."

Walton declined to be drawn on how he planned to respond to the rout.

"We have teaching points, but what I say to them behind those doors, that is between us," he said. "I think they understand and would agree and would feel inside the same way that I feel."

The lowly Mavericks, whose 15-29 record is better than the marks of just four NBA teams, including the Lakers (16-32), snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Lakers, with the league's third-worst win-loss record, are a long way from the heady days early this season, when a youthful and healthy squad played an effective, up-tempo offensive game which gave them enough wins (10-10 win-loss record) to be in the play-offs contention.

Injuries have since piled up, and the Lakers are far too thin and short-handed to replace talents such as D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr and Luol Deng.

They dropped to 3-11 this season when playing without starting point guard Russell, who suffered knee and calf injuries in their win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

Against Dallas, the Lakers were a brutal 13-of-37 from the floor - including two-of-16 from beyond the arc - in the first half and committed nine turnovers. Dallas outrebounded Los Angeles 28-15 before the break, including 8-2 on the offensive glass.

The biggest lead was 53 points as the Mavericks nearly doubled the Lakers' scoring. Only two Lakers' players scored double figures - Lou Williams with 15 points and Jordan Clarkson with 10. Los Angeles shot a paltry 14.3 per cent from beyond the arc, making just three-of-21 attempts.

"They hit shots, we didn't. They defended, we didn't. It's as simple as that," said Nance, who returned after missing a month because of a bone bruise in his left knee.

"I don't know why we didn't defend. Some nights shots don't fall, but it's unacceptable to give up 122 on any night."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2017, with the headline 'Lakers hit rock bottom'. Print Edition | Subscribe