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The Hoop Doctors

Lakers Need Improved Bench Play from World Peace to Improve

January 30, 2012 – R.S. De France

The Los Angeles Lakers lost another road game. Big surprise. But losing 100-89 to the Milwaukee Bucks, who just lost Andrew Bogut for another 8-12 weeks?

Not far removed from a championship team, these Los Angeles Lakers are playing pretty mediocre basketball. The lockout contributes some to veteran teams struggling, but 1-7 on the road? This is getting out of hand, fast.

The problems for the Lakers were numerous. Taking care of the ball has been a problem. The Lakers had 14 turnovers, but the Bucks only 8. Also, the Lakers missed 6 free throws (11/17), while the Bucks only missed 1 (15/16).

But, the big difference was the lack of Lamar Odom, coincidentally a night after he had his biggest game for the Dallas Mavericks, scoring 19 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. World Peace, who has taken Odom’s place on the bench, was 1 of 6 from the field and did not do much else. The Lakers bench was outscored 37-24.

And, frankly, you’re always going to be in trouble when you let two players off the opposition bench score 15 points each (Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy). For the Lakers, no one really produced off the bench other than McRoberts, who had 5 rebounds and 1 block, and Goudelock, who scored 13 points on 3/5 from three-point range.

On the road against a Bogut-less, Stephen Jackson-less Bucks team, this should have been an easy win for the Lakers. This was the Bucks first win without Bogut this season. What can the Lakers do to improve? Why can’t the Lakers win on the road? One thing that would help: light a fire under World Peace.

World Peace 2011-12 Season Stats
Metta World Peace 5.3 2.6 1.9 0.7 0.2 33.9

World Peace has to come off the bench and score. He’s a career 14.5 ppg scorer, but he’s only playing about 20 minutes per game.

Unfortunately, with a new coach, new system, and some new players, some of this is just growing pains, like Goudelocks’ turnovers and McRoberts defensive positioning.

Although Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points, he only scored 2 points in the last 4 minutes of the game. Kobe played over 42 minutes in the loss. Coach Brown has to manage Bryant’s time better. And the bench has to be better to allow their veteran star to rest.

Rob S. De France is a College and University instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.

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