Lakerland just doesn’t seem all that pleasant. After winning 4 in a row and bringing some excitement to Laker fans they have now lost 3 in a row after losing to the New Jersey Nets 102-100. The Lakers were winning at half time and held a 14 point lead at one time during the game. At the end of 3 it was a 72-72 tie after Vince Carter hit a buzzer beater three pointer. The Lakers did not show up at the beggining of the fourth quarter as New Jersey took a 84-74 lead. The Lakers make a comeback but it was not enough. With 6.1 seconds left and the Lakers down, 101-98, Bryant was fouled by Jason Kidd above the arc and was awarded three free throws after a brief conference by referees, who ruled he was in the act of shooting. Bryant made the first two, but not the third.
He had made all 15 free-throw attempts before the miss. “Missed it by a millimeter,” he said. “Skimmed the rim, rattled in, came out. I should have made it, though. A Christmas present came early for them. I’m not going to miss too many more of those.” Bostjan Nachbar made one of two free throws at the other end, and the Lakers trailed, 102-100, with a chance to win or tie. Fisher inbounded the ball to Radmanovic, who dribbled once and heaved an off-balance shot that grazed the front of the rim and fell short. “I had to shoot it,” Radmanovic said. “I don’t care how many I missed before. That’s something as a shooter you have to take, especially when there’s three seconds left on the clock.”
Fingers could be pointed at Bryant or Radmanovic, but the main culprit was a defense that allowed 65 second-half points after the Nets scored 37 in the first half. “Defense, defense, defense, defense,” Odom said. “We let them back in it. “Odom had 16 points after averaging 7.8 in his previous four games. Bynum bounced back from a four-point effort against Boston with 12 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. It wasn’t enough to counteract the Nets’ trio: Jefferson had 27 points, Carter had 19 and Kidd had 15 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. Bryant made three of 14 shots in the first half, but the Lakers still led comfortably at halftime, 49-37. Kidd had six first-half turnovers, and Carter couldn’t stay out of foul trouble (five points, three fouls in the half). Afterward, Fisher tried to be a voice of reason. “We can play smarter, execute better, play harder,” he said. “We are 13 games in and there is a long season still ahead of us.”