NBA scores: Lakers' transition defense falls apart again vs. Nuggets

USA TODAY Sports

It's January, and the Los Angeles Lakers still haven't figured out how to get back on defense. That and more in Sunday's NBA scores roundup.

Nuggets 112, Lakers 105

We'll look back at the 2012-13 season as the one where floor balance became a crucial part of evaluating a team. Coaches have always stressed that their guards drop back to prevent fast-break layups, but the general public has never really seen this as a huge part of why a team succeeds. Thanks to a number of teams, though, that's changing.

One such team: the Los Angeles Lakers. Their transition defense is absolutely shameful in a way that even the casual fan can see. Sunday's loss to the Nuggets was just the latest game where that huge shortcoming cost them. Denver scored 25 fast-break points, and many of those came off simple missed shots and even some made shots. Denver is fast, of course, but proper floor balance could have prevented many of those plays. For example, take a look at this:


How did two Nuggets players streak miles ahead of the nearest Laker? All you have to do is look at Los Angeles' floor balance once Jordan Hill's shot misses.

Screen_shot_2013-01-07_at_9

All five Lakers are below their own free-throw line. This is after the shot missed, mind you. The proper rotation calls for Kobe Bryant (1) and Jodie Meeks (2) to both sprint back toward half court once it becomes clear that Hill is shooting the ball. Instead, both stand there and let Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer run right by them for a layup.

That's shameful transition defense right there, and you can't blame it on old age or a lack of team speed. It was just a fundamental lack of effort on the guards' part. Until the Lakers fix that problem, they aren't even a playoff team.

(It's also hilarious on some level to see them lose like this).

Thunder 104, Raptors 92

Alan Anderson kept this one interesting with a torrid second quarter, but the Thunder eventually pulled away in the second half to pick up the win everyone thought they'd get.

Grizzlies 92, Suns 81

It wasn't pretty, and it should have been more of a blowout, but the Grizzlies eventually got a win against an inferior team. I feel like I've written that sentence 20 times this year.

Bobcats 108, Pistons 101

The Bobcats have been bad, but at least their fans can hang their hat on Kemba Walker's emergence. Walker tied the game with 7.6 seconds left, then starred in overtime to give Charlotte a much-needed road win.

Heat 99, Wizards 71

This was a game for a while, and then the Heat casually went on a 21-0 run to close the game. That's giving Wizards fans false hope, and it's mean.

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