Another Loss for Lakers : Pro basketball: Their 123-105 defeat at Oakland is ninth in a row on road dating to last season.
The Lakers, in far greater need of an emotional rescue than Eddie Jones, took their one-game winning streak into Oakland Coliseum Arena on Saturday night and, right on schedule, got their lights punched out.
Something like the 123-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors before 15,025 was predictable, since the Lakers have lost in their last seven visits here by an average of 20.4 points. But no one saw the fallout coming from the 2-4 start.
The only uncertainty after they dropped to 0-4 on the road this season and set an L.A. Laker record by losing for the ninth time in a row dating to 1994-95 is whether their psyche is more damaged than the record. Down in the standings, down in the dumps.
Vlade Divac said he’s going south more with every game, a move that does not seem devised to divert attention from his play, or whatever is masquerading as his play.
Nick Van Exel, described most often as cocky, said his confidence is dropping.
“I know I haven’t been playing like Nick,” he said after getting six assists without a turnover but making only three of 13 shots. “It shows and it plays off to my teammates. I know I’ve got to pick it up.”
That Divac was on the court an hour before tip-off, shooting and working with assistant coach Michael Cooper on basic post moves, spoke plenty about his desire to break out of the slump because it was a change from his usual pregame ritual. That and the downcast tone in his voice.
“I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to start playing like I finished last season,” he said. “That’s what bothers me. I should just play my game and not think about it. Mostly, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do 20 points and over 10 rebounds. My wish does not come true.”
Not even close. Divac began the game averaging 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds and shooting 37.5%, numbers he has had time to consider with an unexpected windfall in free time.
In the second game of the season, he was benched the entire fourth quarter at Seattle.
In the fourth game, at Utah, he went out with 2:50 left in the third quarter and did not return until 4:29 in the fourth.
In the fifth game, Friday against the SuperSonics at the Forum, he spent an uninterrupted stretch of 11 minutes 49 seconds in the third and fourth quarters on the sidelines, though he did have a key rebound tip-in with 3:07 to go in the Lakers’ three-point victory.
Come Saturday, Divac’s confidence was low.
“Very low,” he said. “Mentally, I’m not in the games. I’m thinking too many things--I have to rebound, I have to play defense. It’s a lot of pressure. I need a break. I need a good game to get back.”
It wouldn’t come against the Warriors, but that only made him a Laker.
Golden State had a 61-49 lead at halftime, shooting 57.8% and getting 15 points each from Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway. The Lakers’ offensive leader? Fred Roberts, with 10 points.
Hardaway’s three-point basket with 40 seconds left was more than the final points before intermission. It proved to be the beginning of the end for the visitors, the start of a 13-0 run for the Warriors that carried into the second half and increased their advantage to 22 points, 71-49.
“If Golden State plays as well against every team as they do against us, they’d be in the playoffs every year,” Laker Coach Del Harris said. “They sure seem to like playing us.”
Mullin finished with 23 points and Hardaway 19 points and 14 assists, while No. 1 draft pick Joe Smith contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. Cedric Ceballos led the Lakers with 25 points and 15 rebounds, but he did commit eight turnovers.
Divac had 10 rebounds, but only nine points on four-of-13 shooting.
“We’re struggling, no question about that,” said Roberts, who finished with 19 points. “But we need to play through this and not get down on each other.”