COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers are 1-2 against the Washington Wizards in their last three games against the lowly team from our nation's capital after losing in embarrassing fashion, 103-101, at Staples Center, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story as to the dismal state of the team.
After the loss, head coach Mike D'Antoni was candid like always with the media and called out his squad for what was a lack of mental preparation. As has become customary in Laker-land this season, the post-game presser was more entertaining than the sad exhibition on the court.
"This is a good team that just for whatever reason can't collectively get mentally stimulated every time," he told ESPNLosAngeles.com after the game. "I told them today, we put our hands in [the huddle], and you guys have probably seen it, we say, 'Championship,' and go out [on the floor]. That's laughable."
The first sentence is key. The Lakers are a good team that just can't figure it out for whatever reason. Teams have the book on how to beat them, and in addition to already being motivated by facing the prestigious Lakers franchise, they know how exactly how to expose their biggest deficiencies.
The Lakers are old and slow -- they struggle to defend at the first level and have no transition game to speak of. That means that they can't score quickly and teams can put up points in bunches against them in a hurry. It's a recipe for the disastrous season fans have witnessed, and it's exactly what happened on Friday night.
It wasn't hard to predict. I said as much before the game that Wizards point guard John Wall was going to be a matchup nightmare for L.A:
My prediction for today: John Wall will give the Lakers FITS.
- Michael C. Jones (@MikeJonesTweets) March 23, 2013
I don't point that out to tout myself as an expert prognosticator -- anyone who's watched a fair amount of Lakers basketball this season knows that they can't defend.
When you add a dynamic ball-handler like Wall into the mix, then all bets are off.
Twenty-four points, 16 assists, six rebounds and three steals later, Wall made me look like Nostradamus. But again, this has been obvious all season.
Everyone from players, analysts and fans agreed before the season that the Lakers were among the best teams on paper, but 2012-13 has been a display of anything but consistently good basketball since the opening tip in the first game and an anomaly like no other following that.
For all intents and purposes, the Lakers are a bad team. Their 36-34 record shows it, their mentality reflects it and in the latest chapter of the Hollywood drama, their coach came out and said it on Friday.
How do you fix the unfixable?
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA and is a Southern California-based sports journalist. He has written for SB Nation, Examiner and is currently the Editor of Sports Out West.
Catch up with him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets
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