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Friday, November 2, 2012
Lakers not rolling early on this season

By John Fisher and Jason Starrett, ESPN Stats & Info


Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireThe Lakers are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start since the 1978-79 season.
The Los Angeles Lakers host the Los Angeles Clippers trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since the 1978-79 season, a span of 33 straight seasons without losing their first three games.

This is the first time the Lakers have started 0-2 in consecutive seasons since the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons. Including the preseason, the Lakers are 0-10 and going back to last year’s playoffs, have lost 12 straight and 16 of their past 18 games.

Only six teams have won the NBA title after starting 0-2 and only one team -- the 1990-91 Bulls -- started 0-3 and won the championship.

Knowing that it’s only been two games, let’s take a look at a few things that have gone wrong for the purple-and-gold in the early going.

• The Lakers have run pick-and-roll on just six percent of their offensive plays this season, by far the lowest percentage in the league, and a number that would have ranked last by a big margin last season.

One of their offseason acquisitions was point guard Steve Nash. When he ran the pick-and-roll last season and passed to the roll man, his teammates led the NBA in points per play and field-goal percentage.

He did leave the last game with an injury, but 10 players have more plays as the pick-and-roll ball-handler this season, including non-point guards Jordan Crawford and Vince Carter.

• The Lakers’ starters -- Kobe Bryant (14), Nash (8), Dwight Howard (6), Pau Gasol (4) and Metta World Peace (1) -- have combined for 33 career All-Star selections, but that lineup has outscored opponents by just four points when on the floor together in the first two games of the season.

• They shot 38.7 percent (12-31) from the free-throw line Tuesday, the worst performance by any team with at least 30 attempts since 1985. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was their lowest free-throw percentage since 1969 and their third-lowest in a game in the shot-clock era (min. 30 FTA).

They did rebound to shoot 81.3 percent the next night.

• The Lakers have one field goal in transition this season and fewer than eight percent of their plays have been transition plays, both the lowest marks in the league.

• They’re averaging 16 bench points per game this season, second-fewest in the league, after averaging an NBA-worst 21.3 bench points last season. They don’t match up well with tonight’s opponent in that department.

Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 29 points off the bench in the Clippers’ season opener, and despite playing in one fewer game, he's nearly outproduced the entire Lakers bench combined.