Lakers miss the point again in loss to Memphis
Reporting from Memphis, Tenn.
It’s like a broken record.
Another point guard got into the teeth of the Lakers’ defense and created problems.
That has been the case for three consecutive games now, this time Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley doing the damage.
He scored a season-high 28 points. He was 10-for-13 from the field, four-for-five from three-point range in leading the Grizzlies past the Lakers Tuesday night. He had just three assists and just two turnovers.
When the topic of point guards doing work against the Lakers the last three games was broached with Coach Phil Jackson after the game, he took it back farther than that.
“We’ve had trouble with them from the last two or three years,” Jackson said. “So that’s nothing new. There are quick guards in this league.”
The Lakers never could quite figure out how to slow down the left-handed, fleet-footed Conley.
He burned them for 10 points in the fourth, missing just one of his five shots, making his only three-pointer.
That came with 1:41 left and it gave the Grizzlies a seven-point lead they held on to.
“Defensively, we had trouble keeping in front of him,” Jackson said. “And a lot of that is help from the big guys. A lot of it is his talents.”
Sunday night, Indiana point guards Darren Collison and T.J. Ford combined for 19 points and eight assists. Last Friday night, Utah point guard Deron Williams hit the Lakers for 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting, and 12 assists.
Derek Fisher and Steve Blake are the Lakers’ point guards and are the first line of defense.
But Jackson said because so many teams run pick-and-rolls, it’s not just about Fisher and Blake. Jackson said the Lakers’ big men have to do a better job of helping.
The Lakers didn’t get a grip on Conley until the end, when Fisher and Pau Gasol doubled teamed him and forced Conley into turning the ball over with 9.9 seconds left.
“It’s never just an individual defensive effort,” Blake said. “It’s got to be a team. That’s why we’re all out there on the floor. It’s too many talented players in this league to just put somebody on someone one-on-one…Defensively, we’ve all got to get back on the same page and communicate and figure our schemes out.”
Many NBA followers are eager to see LeBron James’ return to Cleveland when Miami players there Thursday.
“That’s not of interest to me,” he said. “I hate to listen to the Cleveland broadcast. Their announcers are so loud on the court. It’s just an obnoxious place.”
But almost everybody will be watching on Thursday.
“That’s my night off,” Jackson said, smiling.
Staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report