Here are your 10 additional things to take away from the Lakers' 104-85 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday ...
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the one game that truly encouraged him about the mettle of his team this year was when L.A. went to Indiana and ran a clinic against the Pacers as payback for an earlier loss against them.
Yet, before L.A. played Memphis on Sunday, the coach said the team hadn't paid much mind to their 98-96 loss to the Grizzlies on Nov. 30.
"We know that was a pivotal part of our season at that point," Jackson said. "We don’t have to go back and relive it."
Since the first loss to the Grizzlies, the Lakers have played 16 games and lost six of them, including four out of the last six against teams such as Memphis and Milwaukee that have sub-.500 records. If there were an important lesson to be learned from the first Grizzlies loss, it doesn't seem like the team paid any attention to it.
Memphis came into Los Angeles on Sunday having lost in Utah on Saturday night. The Lakers spent their Saturday away from the gym, having been given the day off by Jackson.
Rather than the day off creating fresh legs for the Lakers, it appeared to cause a sense of staleness in the team, as L.A.'s rhythm and execution were lacking.
"One of the things about having a day off with this team is that they lose focus," Jackson said. "They had a day off [Saturday], and I’ll learn better from that."
Kobe Bryant disagreed with Jackson's take.
"We've had days off and blown teams out, so I'm not buying that Zen [stuff]," Bryant said.
Bryant scored 17 points in the third quarter to try to put the Lakers on his back, but in the process Memphis' lead nearly doubled from eight points at halftime to 17 headed into the fourth quarter. Jackson took issue with Bryant's individual offensive effort, saying, " ... and then Kobe has to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one-on-one, and that takes the rest of the guys out as a consequence." That was just the start of a slew of strong quotes uttered by Lakers players in the postgame locker room.
Here's my story sampling the rest of what everyone was saying.
The harshest words uttered by anyone on Sunday might have been Bryant during the game, however. He was whistled for a technical foul by referee Ken Mauer as he ran back up the court after a made shot with 6:19 to go in the fourth quarter and the Lakers down by 19.
It was the fifth time in the last six games that Bryant was whistled for a T. He now has six technicals on the season. If his total reaches 16, he will face a one-game suspension by the league.
There is an escalating fine scale associated with technical fouls. Bryant had to pay the league $2,000 each for his first five fouls, but when a player reaches No. 6 the fine bumps up to $3,000.
"Don't care," Bryant said. "I can afford it."
As he made he way out of the locker room after the question about his technicals, he added, "It's a good thing. Lot of money for the NBA Cares program."
Steve Blake came into Sunday's game shooting just 8 for 32 (25 percent) in his previous seven games. For the season, the guard is shooting 37.6 percent but a respectable 41.7 percent on 3-pointers.
"I told him his shots are in-and-out shots. They haven’t been off very much," Jackson said before the game. "Everything seemed to be on track, so I just said it’s a matter of just that minuscule amount right now. ... If he was taking 12-15 shots a game for us, we’d be concerned. He’s lucky if he gets five or six."
Blake is averaging 4.5 shot attempts per game on the season.
"He’s down there in the, ‘These opportunities don’t come often, so I better make it,’ type of feeling," Jackson said. "But we’re just trying to keep him confident and tell him to keep on shooting the ball when he’s open and not have a second thought."
Blake was able to bust out of his slump to some degree against Memphis, scoring eight points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field and going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Joining Blake in the offensive woes department this season is Ron Artest, whose 7.5 points-per-game average is a career low and less than half of his 15.1 career average. Unlike Blake, however, Artest's offense seemed to be trending upward in recent weeks, as the Lakers starting small forward had shot 50 percent or better in six of the last nine games and scored 10 points or more in two of the last three coming into Sunday.
But he hit a new low against Memphis, as he went scoreless for the first time all season, going 0-for-2 from the field in 25 minutes.
"I always look forward to better days," Artest said after the game. "It's hard for me to get disappointed. I just move on. Just keep working hard; keep trying to win the next game. Get better the next day."
Pau Gasol finished with 10 points on nine shot attempts. It was the third time in his last four games that he had less than 10 shots from the field. During that stretch, he is averaging 12 points per game, well below his 18.7 season average.
"The game got to a point where we didn’t use our strengths, which is our inside players," Jackson said in defense of his three-time All-Star. "Pau got nine shots in the course of a game. Some of it’s his own responsibility, but we didn’t use that focus that we have in a ballgame.
"When we started off the game, I think Pau got six out of our [nine] points and didn’t score again in the first half. He ended up the game with 10; he got four more points in the second half. He’s too good a player for a game like that."
The Lakers were 6 for 8 on 3-pointers against the Grizzlies, continuing the precedent set in the off-the-mark month of December when the Lakers connected on 31.0 percent of their 3s in 15 games. They started the season shooting 41.2 percent on triples in 15 games in November.
"There’s two things I can think of offhand: one, defense is getting better against us in teams around the league as they see us play and they have the ability to make adjustments, and secondly, legs," Jackson said. "People get tired, and they don’t have the same amount of leg strength and ability. Shots are about, especially outside shooting, is about strength in legs."
Quotes of the night: "I don't know what's going on in that locker room." -- Memphis guard O.J. Mayowhen asked if the Lakers might have overlooked the Grizzlies.
"A loss is a loss, but these blowouts at home are ... I'm really at a loss for words, to tell you the truth. It's a horrible loss, and it's something that shouldn't happen." -- Lakers forward Matt Barnes.
Stats of the night: Memphis dominated in many statistical categories. The Lakers coughed up 20 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Grizzlies. The Lakers were outrebounded 44-37 and were outscored 50-36 in the paint, 28-5 in fast-break points and 13-10 on second-chance points. ... Andrew Bynum had five blocks, the first time he's had that many rejections since November 2009. ... Bryant needs 15 points against Detroit on Tuesday to pass Dominique Wilkins (26,668) for 10th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. ... The Lakers' Facebook page passed the 5 million fan plateau Sunday, making it the first North American sports team to do so.