NBA scores: Lakers' defense struggles again in loss to Knicks

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers' defense was subpar in a nine-point loss to the New York Knicks.

Knicks 116, Lakers 107

This game was not nearly as close as the score indicated. The Lakers made up the majority of the deficit after Carmelo Anthony left with an ankle injury, and Anthony was heading for a 50-point game at that point. It's always difficult to throw the white flag (though Magic Johnson had no problems doing it), but in the long run, it might have been better for Mike D'Antoni to get Kobe Bryant some rest instead of playing him 44 minutes in a fruitless effort to come back.

The obvious question to ask here is whether the Knicks scoring 55 points in the first 16 minutes of the game was more due to good offense or horrible Lakers defense. After re-watching all 55 of those points, my sense is the latter. Look at some of these defensive breakdowns.

Screen_shot_2012-12-14_at_9

This is a picture of Chris Duhon going underneath a screen for the sole purpose of beating Raymond Felton to the spot when he inevitably turns the corner. And...

Screen_shot_2012-12-14_at_9

Yeah, so much for that.

Now, here's Jordan Hill doing everything possible to NOT step up on a Anthony drive to the basket.

Screen_shot_2012-12-14_at_9

Hill's not in a bad position here, and Duhon is pinching down enough to take away any lob to Tyson Chandler. So ... why does Hill not move over to cut off the best Knicks player on the court?

Screen_shot_2012-12-14_at_9

Screen_shot_2012-12-14_at_9

WHOOPS! And then, of course, there was this play where four Lakers couldn't stop Anthony from getting an easy layup in transition.

Melohof

Needless to say, the Lakers' defense has problems.

Blazers 98, Spurs 90

Once again, Damian Lillard showed off in a nationally-televised game. Lillard had 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He outplayed Tony Parker and confounded the Spurs' defense with three-pointers, mid-range jumpers and layups. When he has all three of those shots working, he's impossible to guard.

Commentators love to say that point guards like him are "polished" already, but what they're really saying is that he has the jump shot to go along with his speed and strength driving to the basket. Most young point guards don't have a jumper like Lillard does, which makes him special.

As for the Spurs ... they had a rough night in Utah the previous night and had to go to a different time zone the next night to play. You're bound to lose some games like this one.

Hawks 113, Bobcats 90

Remember when the Bobcats were playing well? That was fun.

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