It's no laughing matter, not anymore.
When the Los Angeles Lakers went winless in the preseason, we giggled about how their season was doomed. When they lost their first game, we joked that this meant they would never win again. When they struggled the first two weeks we scratched our heads and shrugged. Now, as All-Star Weekend begins in Houston, the Lakers are four games under .500 and, despite going 8-4 recently, have had a disastrous week.
Blown out in Boston.
Manhandled in Miami.
And, at home, on their floor, against the Little Brother Who Can Do No Good Clippers, a beatdown of epic proportions. Twenty-four points on their own floor. Forget the two lottery teams that they scraped by. Three playoff teams, three teams to use as a barometer for their season.
A combined loss in those three games by 55 points. Fifty. Five.
The Lakers, the greatest organization in the NBA, don't accept this. Kobe Bryant, their leader and icon, doesn't accept this. But Dwight Howard, the franchise center expected to take over for Bryant and lead the Lakers onward in their never-ending quest for glory?
After the Lakers' 125-101 loss to the Clippers, Kobe Bryant said this:
Kobe not naming names, but ... "After we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can't be laughing and joking around"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 15, 2013
As TNT's coverage of the game on Thursday night concluded, Howard was seen smiling and laughing with members of the Clippers.
Kobe Bryant was nowhere to be seen.
Bryant and Howard will share the stage on Sunday afternoon, when they represent the Western Conference in the 2013 All-Star Game in Houston. An embarrassing honor, given their disappointing record, but one that Howard will no doubt live up to. But after that, the work resumes. And if this situation is going to resolve itself, the two will have to come to some sort of understanding and there has to be a better effort. From Bryant (though he has been the best Laker by a mile), from Howard (though he has been injured), from Steve Nash.
We'll see how it goes. The drama continues.