The lowest-scoring half in franchise history figured to provide enough motivation for the Los Angeles Lakers in their latest game. Instead, they suffered through yet another poor second half.
The Lakers look to bounce back Tuesday night and avoid their first three-game losing streak in nearly two years when they host the Detroit Pistons.
Los Angeles (7-3) didn't suffer a third loss until Dec. 9, in its 20th game, in 2008-09 on its way to the franchise's 15th NBA championship. The team reached that mark much more quickly this season.
Each of the defeats featured two common themes -- poor shooting and underwhelming second-half scoring. The Lakers shot 39.5 percent and had 35 points after halftime in falling 94-80 at home to Dallas on Oct. 30. They then won six in a row before shooting a season-low 35.2 percent and setting a franchise record with 23 second-half points in a 105-79 loss at Denver on Friday.
Los Angeles shot 33.3 percent and was limited to 37 points after halftime Sunday in a 101-91 defeat to Houston, which held a 60-38 rebounding edge.
"You only end up getting six offensive rebounds on the night when you shoot 38 percent," coach Phil Jackson said. "That's not supposed to be like that. You're supposed to have numbers of second opportunity chances. So we're going to have to work on where we're getting our shots from."
Kobe Bryant was 5 of 20 from the field and scored 18 points, two nights after finishing with 19 against Denver. Bryant, who aggravated a groin injury against the Rockets but is set to play Tuesday, hasn't been held under 20 in three straight games since April 2-7, 2005.
"I've felt better," Bryant said, adding he was "mortified" at the past two losses. "It'll be all right. I've been nursing it, kind of playing through it. ... You know I don't make excuses."
The Lakers have not lost three in a row since Jan. 23-27, 2008, shortly before Pau Gasol -- out with a strained right hamstring -- was acquired from Memphis.
"Defensively, we need to step it up," said center Andrew Bynum, averaging 20.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. "That's what we're lacking right now. We got guards trying to box out bigs. Bigs trying to box out guards. We're all over the place right now."
While Bryant tries to end his shooting slump -- he hit 32.4 percent over his last two games after making 56.9 percent in his previous four -- Detroit's Ben Gordon is coming off a far worse performance.
The Pistons led Dallas by six at halftime Sunday but lost 95-90 as Gordon missed 15 of 16 shots, the last a potential tying 3-pointer with two seconds left.
"I was getting great looks at the basket, but I could never get myself into any kind of rhythm," Gordon said. "I was getting open, and I can't start turning down shots, but nothing felt good and nothing looked good."