x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

A lot of work ahead for the LA Lakers to make NBA play-offs

The heroics of Kobe Bryantcannot hide all that is wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers, writes Steve Dilbeck

The Los Angeles Lakers are done. Perhaps worse, they are boring. This is a team with Kobe Bryant but no identity. They are neither strong nor athletic, get no points in transition, play defence erratically and are surprisingly anonymous.

Their 10-8 record is OK but deceiving. They are 1-6 on the road. They have beaten only one quality team, and that was an excruciating 73-70 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. They have lost four of their past five.

Despite having the NBA's leading scorer in Bryant, they cannot score. It is sad to watch. They have reached 100 points just once all season and have failed to hit that mark in 11 consecutive games - their longest triple-figure drought since 2003/04.

The Lakers won consecutive NBA titles before the Mavericks ousted them from the 2011 play-offs and now appear far removed from championship calibre.

And no answers are on the horizon. They seem to be suffering more than most from the lockout. They have a new coach, Mike Brown, and whatever it is he wants them to be, they are not coming close. "It's under construction," Bryant said of the offence. "We're still working on the blueprints, actually."

They desperately need a fluid point guard. Of course, they thought they had one until David Stern, the commissioner, shot down their deal for Chris Paul before the start of the season.

Now they dream of acquiring Dwight Howard, the centre. They soon may be dreaming of trying to make the play-offs.