The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third straight game on Sunday night, falling 112-105 to the Denver Nuggets and dropping to 15-18 on the season. Contrary to what some of his star players have posited, Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game that bad chemistry has little to do with why the team has been such an enormous flop thus far this season (via The Los Angeles Times):
"You don't have to love each other," he said. "I've been on a lot of championship teams in Europe where there's edges and we don't go out to dinner every night. That is not why we're losing. We're losing right now because we don't have a consistent 48 minutes of good basketball."
One of the biggest problems for the Lakers this season has been their porous defense, as they are 26th in the NBA in points allowed and 19th in defensive efficiency. Some of the struggles on the defensive end could certainly be attributed to chemistry issues, because effort and trust are a huge part of being successful on that side of the ball. If those components are missing, it can lead to plenty of blown assignments and easy baskets.
Center Dwight Howard criticized the team's chemistry over the weekend, and reiterated after the Nuggets loss that the Lakers needed to come together as a group if they wanted to have success going forward.
Some steps were made in the right direction on Sunday, but there's still a lot of work to be done. D'Antoni and his players seem to be on a different page, which has to change if things are to get any better.