Blowout Losses: 6 LAL(38), Utah(22), Utah(16), LAL(18), GS(18), NJ(17)
All the blowout losses were a result of being over-matched. It was fun to take the Lakers into the 4th quarter on equal terms, but it never felt like we would win that game. At least, we haven't been blown out w/ ZBO in the mix, but tonight will be our first opportunity, depending on how the team responds to last night's catastrophe.
Mid-Range Losses: 2 HOU(9), NO(12)
In the HOU & NO games we kept within striking distance, but just couldn't overcome early deficits. The New Orleans game easily could've been a blowout if EJ didn't start.
Close Losses: 6 DEN(10-OT), SAC(5), SA(3), DEN(1), PHI(1), DAL(2)
These are the tough losses that have made a bad start extra painful. In 3 out of the 6, we really didn't have any business winning considering how we played...we showed the ability to get back into the game, however we couldn't deliver the knockout punch at the end, SAC(5), SA(3), DEN(1). In 2 of the games, PHI(1), DAL(2), we pretty much controlled the game on the road only to falter at the end. Most of these games were fated by a wild shot and/or a late TO from BD. BD can't be blamed for the Denver OT loss, as he was injured in the 2nd quarter.
Close Wins: 1
Equally as disturbing as the 2 road games we let slip away was the Miami home game over the weekend. We did a good job of staying with Miami all game, and finally took control late in the 4th quarter. We were all counting the win, until the game simply got closer than we wanted it to be at the end when it looked like we would be forced to make free throws on our final possession. Until BD throws away the entry pass and we waited for the officials to decide our fate. A clutch defensive stand saves the game.
Mid-Range Wins: 1
Our first win against Dallas at home. The Clippers actually managed to take control of the game early and hold on for the win, leading throughout the 4th quarter.
Blowout Wins: 1
Looking like disaster early on, the Clippers caught fire late in the 2nd quarter, and carried it into the 2nd half where OKC's front line was exposed in a major way.
What Could Have Been
All total we're 1-6 in close games, and I count at least 3 games that we gave away at the end, and 3 in which we were able to come back at the very end but not finish. Simply taking care of business puts this ball club at 6-11, and finding more at the end of some rally's gets us to 7-10, or 8-9. But it hasn't been done, so much so that a slightly sub .500 team for the first 40+ minutes of games manages to go 3-14 for the first 17 games of the season.
Obviously, adjustments have to be made at this point, especially considering last nights game was the worst of the year. A constant theme has been BD's inability to create and poor decision making, and the coaches inability to implement structure in final possessions. You could also argue that game management has hurt the club in this area. When Hughes had his turn to coach, he gave the bench more minutes, which gave us an energy edge late in the game to tie it up. Things are looking better with Randolph and Gordon joining the starting lineup, and may get even better if Kaman can come back at full strength, but until we learn how to play coherently late in the game, it's not going to matter. Maybe we could fly Sam Cassell down to L.A. for weekend courses?