If you make the comparison that the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are the Superman of the league, then you’d have to call the Charlotte Bobcats their kryptonite because they are the one team that has consistently made the Lakers look mortal during the past few seasons. For the record, the Bobcats have won eight out of the last ten games with L.A. And that trend continued Monday night with a 109-89 beatdown of the Lakers.
The latest loss by the Lakers, the biggest one handed to them this season (by points differential), was a symphony of ugliness. They couldn’t make shots and their defense was leakier than the Titanic, a combination that left head coach Phil Jackson as disgusted as he’s been in years. So much so that he only gave about 5 seconds to reporters after the game.
"I’m embarrassed about what we did and that’s it," Jackson said as he began to stroll away. "Thank you."
Kobe Bryant, who was suffering from the flu, missed 11 of his first 16 shots, got to the foul line only four times and committed five fouls. He also sneaked out of the locker room, avoiding the press in the process. Such actions on the court by Bryant and the Lakers are a far cry from the team seen in recent years.
"Everything we do is obviously going to be compared to what we’ve done the last two seasons," guard Derek Fisher said. "But this is an entirely different team. Half of our roster is new, so there are still things we’re learning about ourselves."
For the Bobcats who seem to have the Lakers number, it was just another day at the office. One that saw Charlotte beat their third quality team in the last eight days. They also beat Boston and Atlanta during this stretch.
"I think even though they’re bigger than us, we’re quicker and more athletic than them," Wallace said. "We get up and run up and down the floor. We’re able to control their bigs and control Kobe for the most parts of the game. I think that’s what helps us out a lot in this matchup."
In a way, it’s kind of ironic that the Lakers struggle against the Bobcats, as the team is owned by former Phil Jackson star player Michael Jordan.
"I wish I knew clearly why we lost the game the way we did," Lakers big Pau Gasol said. "Everything that could have gone wrong, pretty much we did wrong."