Sports Out West

Have the Los Angeles Lakers finally hit rock bottom this season?

Photo Credit: 
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — After suffering the worst regular season in franchise history in a 48-point defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, things have appeared to hit rock bottom.

The Lakers have had their inconsistency on the court this season, but Thursday’s loss was one that puts a cap on a difficult season.

“Well, it’s not a great thing, That’s for sure, but there’s not much we can do about it now,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said about worst loss in franchise history. “We just have to get better and get through it, regroup, and play better.”

D’Antoni added: “(They have to) keep their heads up. Nothing we can do about that, we just have to flush it down and go to the next one. We’ll try to figure out what’s wrong, but obviously we ran into a better team.”

Los Angeles began the season with hopes of at least being in contention for playoff position, but as the year has unraveled things have gotten progressively worse for the team. First it was  injuries that began to pile up, as Steve Nash suffered nerve root damage in his back on Nov. 10 that forced him to miss the next two months and have him play in just 10 games this season.

In December, Kobe Bryant suffered a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee that came just six games after returning from a torn left Achilles tendon that sidelined him for over eight months. He has not played in a game since the injury that forced him to miss the last two and a half months as he has experienced persistent swelling in the injured area.

There was also the injuries to Jordan Farmar,  then-Laker Steve Blake, and Xavier Henry that hurt the team’s stability in their backcourt. Along the way, the Lakers also lossed Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks for a couple of weeks each due to injuries.

All of this has contributed to Los Angeles possessing the second-worst defense in the league at 107.4 points per game, which combined with the injuries has resulted in the team now in last place in the Western Conference and the fifth-worst record in the NBA at 21-41.

“We still play the games and compete,” Gasol said. “We are not achieving our goals. The last couple of seasons we haven’t been achieving our goals, but this season has been a lot worse. I think that is just a part of life. You have good years, where you are in a great situation, and things go your way.

You also have tougher years, where things really don’t go your way with injuries and our best player has only played six games the entire season. Steve Nash, who is a player that could of helped a lot hasn’t played a lot either. You just got to keep your head up, keep going and keep on walking.”

It just has been a season where nothing has gone in Los Angeles’ way , and it will not get any easier for them as they play 14 of the remaining 20 games on the schedule against teams with a .500 record or better. This is also includes three games against the San Antonio Spurs, two against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and one against the Clippers just to name a few.

So with that said, this may not be rock bottom just yet. The worse may be to come with the grueling schedule that lies ahead of the Lakers for the remainder of the season.

“Yeah,” D’Antoni said in agreement that the remaining schedule is tough. “Well yeah you’re right.”

Photo Credit:  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.