The Los Angeles Lakers are, shockingly, down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks in their second-round 2011 NBA Playoffs series, and there are a number of reasons why. But none are more surprising than the way they have forced Kobe Bryant to take difficult shots. Granted, Bryant is averaging nearly 30 points per game in this series, but the Mavericks have made him work much harder than he should have to work.
The basketball stats web site HoopData uncovered a critical statistic that explains a lot of why the Lakers have struggled in this series.
Kobe has attempted 49 field goals in two games, with just one single lay-up among them and only two shots inside 10 feet away.
There are a lot of reasons for this statistic. Maybe Bryant is passive. Maybe Bryant, in his advanced age, simply isn't capable of getting to the basket anymore. Maybe the Lakers' poor outside shooting is allowing the Mavericks to clog the lane without fear of repercussions. Maybe Bryant is trying to get his big men going.
No matter what, though, it's a bad sign for the Lakers. Bryant was able to convert on a decent percentage of his jump shots in the first two games, but unless he can find a way to get to the basket, that hot streak will likely end.