The Lakers have lost nine of their last 10 games, including three in a row.
Injuries have decimated the squad but the Lakers have competed in recent games. Poor second-half performances, however, have been fatal.
"We're just mentally fatigued sometimes," said Coach Mike D'Antoni after practice on Thursday. "We've got to play at a high level and we've got to sustain it, and so far we haven't done that."
On Wednesday, the Lakers were outscored by the Houston Rockets in the third quarter, 33-15 -- eventually falling 113-99. The Lakers had 18 turnovers, leading to numerous Houston run-outs.
"That's probably the No. 1 in why we're losing, we're giving up between 25 and 35 points every game on points off turnovers," said D'Antoni
Point guard Kendall Marshall had eight assists but turned the ball over six times.
"I definitely take that upon myself, being a point guard, being the coach on the floor -- it's inexcusable to have the type of turnovers I've had," said Marshall. "I think if I cut down on those turnovers and get us into the offense, those are more shots that we're getting, and less dunks that they're getting. I'm putting that on myself."
D'Antoni isn't so sure it's Marshall's fault.
"We've got to do a better job for Kendall. He's a certain type of point guard," said D'Antoni. "God gave him the ability to have an unbelievable vision and passing ability, but we're closing the floor up on him -- and if we do that he's going to turn it over and that's not his fault. That's the team's fault."
According to D'Antoni, the big men need to set harder screens. They need to make stronger rolls to the basket.
"I think we've become maybe a little bit undisciplined within the offense, making sure we're doing things hard and sharp," said Marshall. "Of course you can put some of the blame on that, but at the end of the day, I have to be a basketball player and I can't make those plays."
Pau Gasol agreed that the team isn't running its offense efficiently.
"We stay stagnant too much. We're not moving. We're not creating energy out of our offense enough," said Gasol. "We're just standing and watching a lot of the time. It puts a lot of pressure on our passing and our penetration.
Turnovers are costing the Lakers shots, but also wreaking havoc defensively.
D'Antoni said the Lakers are solid defensively when they set up in a half court. When they turn the ball over, they're among the worst in the league.
"We're 30th in points in transition. We're 30th on second-chance points. Those are two things that are killing us," said D'Antoni. "Turnovers are a big part of that. A lot of it is because we're not real disciplined on the offensive end, clogging up the middle."
It's not that the Lakers aren't working on it. They're trying -- there's just not a lot of talent in uniform with Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee) all sidelined.
"We watched a lot of film . . . we just have to learn from it. It seems like a broken record, the same story every other game," said Jodie Meeks, who has played out of position as the team's backup point guard. "At some point we'll get better."
A few weeks ago, Marshall was in the NBA Development League. Now he's the Lakers' starting point guard.
Through eight appearances (and four starts), Marshall is averaging 9.1 points with seven assists a game -- along with three turnovers.
"He's very unselfish as a point guard. He'll try to get you the ball every time, and I think he's figuring out where to get the ball to different players on the floor," said Gasol. I'm comfortable with him. He's the only true point guard that we have. I better be comfortable with him."
The Lakers (14-22) visit the Clippers (15-13) at Staples Center on Friday night.
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