Bernucca: Lackluster Lakers fooling themselves and their fans

GAME OF THE WEAK: Sacramento at Charlotte, Jan. 19. It’s games like this that keep business booming at NetFlix and Redbox.

TWO MINUTES: When Miami’s Ray Allen went scoreless in 16 minutes Tuesday at Indiana, it was his first donut in 1,125 games since his rookie season almost 16 years ago. Allen’s only other career blanking came on Feb. 26, 1997 vs. Atlanta, when he was 0-of-7 in 23 minutes. … Until last week, Bucks guard Brandon Jennings had had only one coach in his career while every player taken ahead of him in the 2009 draft has had at least two except Ricky Rubio (who spent two years in Spain). That coach was Scott Skiles, who decided to walk away and was replaced by assistant Jim Boylan. Jennings had 29 points, nine assists and one near slip of the tongue Tuesday vs. Phoenix to help Boylan win his first game as interim coach. “I almost called Jim ‘Scott’ at one point,” Jennings said. “But, hey, it’s a business. I understand now. I’ve seen a lot.” This is Boylan’s second gig, and both have come after replacing Skiles during the season. He did the same in Chicago in December 2007. … Has the key to Toronto’s recent solid play been the return of backup shooting guard Alan Anderson? The Raptors had lost 12 of 13 before Anderson returned Dec. 14 from a foot injury but are 10-4 since. During that stretch, Anderson has averaged 13.6 points while shooting 36 percent (30-of-84) from the arc, 87 percent (34-of-39) from the line and established new scoring career highs twice. … With Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love highly unlikely to return as West All-Star reserves, this may not matter. But it should be noted that on Friday, Golden State’s David Lee brutalized Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge. In a 103-97 victory, Lee had 24 points and 10 boards for his league-leading 15th 20-10 game. Aldridge was 3-of-14 for seven points and six rebounds. … The Wizards may be just 6-28, but for some reason they give the Hawks fits. On Nov. 21 in Atlanta, they lost 101-100 in overtime, only after Martell Webster’s apparent winning tip shot was disallowed. On Dec. 7 in Atlanta, they cut an 18-point second-half deficit to two with four minutes left before losing, 104-95. On Dec. 18 in Washington, the Wizards again lost in overtime, 100-95. And on Saturday in Washington – in John Wall’s return – the Wizards avoided the season series sweep. … Eight teams played Saturday night after playing Friday night. Six lost, and the two winners played two of the losers. … When the Nets beat the Kings, Sixers and Suns each by exactly 20 points, it was the first time since they jumped to the NBA in 1976 that they won three straight games by at least 20 points. The last time they had done that was Feb. 19-23, 1975, when they were in the ABA and Julius Erving, Larry Kenon and Co. beat San Antonio (113-91), the San Diego Conquistadors (126-93) and the Memphis Sounds (116-93). … On the flip side, Philadelphia’s loss to Brooklyn was part of four in a row by at least 18 points to match the longest such skid in franchise history. The Sixers also lost four straight by 18-plus points from Dec. 12-20, 1972 en route to a 9-73 season, the worst ever until last year. … On New Year’s Day, the Hawks beat the Hornets to improve to 20-10 to move within 1 1/2 games of the Heat for the top spot in the East. But they have lost five of six since, prompting coach Larry Drew to resort to the S word. “The first half we were soft, soft,” Drew said after Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota. “We did not guard very well. I thought physically they did just about anything they wanted to.” Josh Smith wasn’t exactly thrilled with his coach’s choice of words. “I’m not rolling with the soft part,” he said. “We didn’t come out with the energy. Soft is not how we play.” … No one would put Vinny Del Negro in the class of Jack Ramsay, who coached the 1977 Blazers to the title, or even Mike Dunleavy, who guided the 1991 Lakers to the Finals. But all three have coached the Clippers franchise and had a losing season in their first campaign. Del Negro needed 184 games to get 100 wins. Ramsay needed 223 and Dunleavy needed 224. … While superstar Derrick Rose continues his rehab from a torn ACL, the Bulls are tougher to figure than advanced calculus. Chicago is the only team over .500 on the road and not over .500 at home. On the road, the Bulls are 10-5, including 9-1 vs. the East with wins at Miami and New York. At home, they are 10-10, with losses to New Orleans, Charlotte and Phoenix. “We’re going on the road and beating some of the best teams, then coming home against lower-echelon teams and not competing,” center Joakim Noah said. “If we all knew what the problem was, we’d do something about it.” … Thunder coach Scott Brooks has empathy for Wizards coach Randy Wittman. Washington’s rough start recalls the 3-29 record Oklahoma City began with to open the 2008-09 season. “I know how Randy feels,” he said. “It’s not easy, because you don’t see a lot of sunshine. But, they have good players that work hard, and eventually it turns around. … Kevin Durant helps, also.”

Trivia Answer: Kobe Bryant, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton. … Happy 62nd Birthday, Ron Behagen. … Personally, I love the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Chris Bernucca is the deputy editor of His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter


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