Reporting from Boston — The Lakers' margin for error is credit-card slim, their lack of depth and talent costing them if they don't play a nearly perfect game.
In fact, you can hear all about it if you listen closely.
"It just seems like our margin for error is really, really small right now," Derek Fisher said after the Lakers lost a seven-point lead Monday in the last 41/2 minutes of a 95-90 loss to Philadelphia.
Said Kobe Bryant: "Our margin for error is just not as big as some of the other teams. We have to play really, really good basketball in stretches of the game. . . ."
When they were winning championships in 2009 and 2010, the Lakers could laugh at two-game losing streaks. They went two years without losing three in a row after acquiring Pau Gasol. Now they're turning into a punch line with a 14-11 record, 3-9 on the road.
They're 1-2 on a trip that continues Thursday in Boston before concluding in New York and Toronto. They keep hoping for the best, the obvious key word the third in the sentence.
"We're playing quality teams and we have chances to win," Fisher said. "It's not as though we're coming out and laying eggs and playing flat basketball. We're competing and trying to do the right things. It's not coming together for us the way we'd like it to."
Bryant won't face charges
No charges will be filed against Bryant over an alleged incident in August at a church in San Diego, the city attorney's office announced.
A young man had alleged that Bryant assaulted him while both were attending Sunday services at St. Therese of Carmel Church in the upscale Carmel Valley neighborhood. The accuser said that Bryant aggressively pulled on his arm because the Lakers star thought the man had taken his picture.
Thomas Hagos, 20, later went to a hospital because of a minor wrist sprain, police said.
"As prosecutors we cannot ethically file a criminal case when we lack sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," said a spokeswoman for San Diego City Atty. Jan Goldsmith. "Based upon our extensive investigation and interview of independent witnesses, we've concluded that charges cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."
After the incident, Bryant denied that he had hurt the man.
"Mr. Bryant is aware of the baseless allegations asserted against him," said a statement issued by attorney Mark Campbell, "and is prepared to defend against them fully."
Fisher: I'm fine
Fisher was the face of the union during the NBA's labor dispute last year, flying back and forth from Los Angeles to New York weekly, if not more often.
The NBA lockout was his life. His face was on TV all the time. He helped negotiate an end to the 149-day stalemate that cost the league 16 games per team in a severely crunched schedule. How much did it cost Fisher physically?
Fisher, 37, has helped the Lakers win two games, hitting a last-second three-pointer against Dallas and diving for a loose ball late against Denver. His stats, though, are down to 5.4 points and 26 minutes a game after he averaged 6.8 points and 28 minutes last season. His three-point touch has also suffered, down to 27.5% after 39.6% last season.
"I don't feel that I'm physically struggling and having a difficult time playing," Fisher said. "I have a particular role with my team and I try to fill it to the best of my ability. We could win some more games regardless of how I'm playing. Then things would be a lot better."
Caracter gets cut
Derrick Caracter was waived by the Lakers on Tuesday, three days before all non-guaranteed contracts became guaranteed the rest of the season.
He did not play with the Lakers this season after sustaining torn cartilage in his left knee in training camp. He played four games for the Lakers' Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, after returning from surgery.
The Lakers have three other players on non-guaranteed contracts but all are expected to be retained past Friday's deadline: rookie guards Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris and second-year forward Devin Ebanks.
Caracter, 23, averaged two points and one rebound in 41 games last season after being selected 58th overall from Texas El Paso in the 2010 draft. He would have been on the books for $788,782 this season.
The Lakers now have 14 players on their roster, one below the league maximum.
Times staff writer Tony Perry contributed to this report.