Lakers dropped from ABC game on March 1

Lakers dropped from ABC game on March 1
Miami center Hassan Whiteside pulls a rebound away from Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin during the second half. The Lakers lost to the Heat, 78-75, on Tuesday at Staples Center. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The latest sign of a sagging franchise was delivered Tuesday.

ABC dumped its planned coverage of the Lakers' game against Oklahoma City on March 1, replacing it with Cleveland at Houston.

It marked the first time this season the Lakers were dropped from a national game. The tipoff time was also changed by the NBA from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Staples Center. The game will now be televised by TWC SportsNet and NBA TV.

It's nothing entirely new for the Lakers, who had three national TV games dumped last season by TNT or ESPN.

On the other hand, it represented one of only two ABC games for the Lakers this season, already a steep drop-off from the past. Their other ABC game is at Cleveland on Feb. 8. They have four more games on TNT and four more on ESPN.

Forever Young?

It has been a rough month for Nick Young.

His accuracy is off, he hasn't filled the scoring void when Kobe Bryant skips games, and he has been singled out by the Lakers' coaching staff in video sessions for his lack of defense.

"We'll say, 'Look at you now. Your man doesn't have the ball, and look at you,' "Coach Byron Scott said, alluding to Young's indifference. "That's one of my pet peeves with him…. Obviously, if he keeps playing the way he's been playing, the minutes go down."

Young's been pretty awful on offense too, shooting only 28.4% in six games this month before Tuesday's game against Miami.

Scott couldn't resist jabbing Young, who proclaimed himself the NBA's best shooter of all time earlier this season.

"You should ask him now if he's still in the conversation with Reggie Miller, Larry Bird and guys like that who can shoot the ball," Scott said.

He could have added Ray Allen and Stephen Curry, two more players who weren't as deadly as Young, according to Young back in November.

In Young's defense, it's harder to play when Bryant isn't out there to keep defenses honest. Very few Lakers can create their own shot, and removing Bryant makes it easier to load up on Young. Even though Bryant has shot erratically the whole season, plenty of teams have double-teamed him.

"It's a little tougher for [Young] to get easy shots and real good shots'" without Bryant, Scott said. "Sometimes he's taking a lot of his shots right now under duress and we've got to try to do a better job of setting picks for him and getting him open as well."

Young had seven points on two-for-five shooting at halftime against Miami.


Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan