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Monday, January 25, 2010
Lakers lose north of the border: Links of the day

By Brian Kamenetzky


Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Not sure if you heard, but this shot went in.



Perhaps it's appropriate the Lakers will take a break from the grind of their eight game road trip to visit the White House and President Obama (12 pm PT, KCAL). The last week or so hasn't been kind to either.

L.A.'s latest misstep came Sunday night in Toronto, a disappointing 106-105 loss to the Raptors. The critical play, insofar as highlight packages are concerned, was a last second foul called on Pau Gasol against Toronto's Hedo Turkoglu driving the bucket on the Raptors' final trip.  (Click here for the play, around the 1:30 mark, vote on it here.) The Lakers had one last chance, but Kobe Bryant wasn't able to again dip into Well of Miracle Shots, his desperation buzzer triple from somewhere near Winnipeg coming up just short.

Game, set, match, Raptors.

The real story, of course, goes deeper.



As Andy pointed out last night, through the first three quarters the Lakers build solid leads only to allow the Raptors back in at the end of each quarter. And obviously, they really let them back in at the end of the fourth, when there were some defensive lapses as well as an ice cold offense scoring all of two points over the final three minutes-plus. Forum Blue and Gold breaks down the breakdowns in crunch time.

Of course, all of this could be attributed to the "C" word (as opposed to the "T" word, which I addressed over the weekend). Kevin Ding of the OC Register believes complacency is a major issue for the Lakers these days. There's also Kobe's fractured finger and Ron Artest's feet, the latter of which might require rest, Phil Jackson says, but Kobe believes his finger won't get worse by playing, and moreover the Lakers really do need him on the floor despite his shooting woes, writes ESPN LA's Dave McMenamin.

Oh, and punctuality, as Andrew Bynum learned after he had to fly commercial from Newark to Toronto.

I presume he'll be on time to the White House.