The Lakers fell to 15-18 last night with a 112-105 home loss to the Nuggets. Oh, and they also hate each other.
This superteam, consisting of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol, is one that looked formidable posing together on media day. Oh, media day. Remember that? And all of the memes that came from it? This team looked like a 2-seed, at the very least. They even looked kind of friendly! Surely, a roster with perennial All-NBA talent would compete for a title, and, since they’re all members of the Association’s royal upper crust, maybe they’d even grab sushi or see Zero Dark Thirty together after games. Look how much fun they’re having!
Welp, none of that’s happened, and if the season ended today, the Lakers would miss the playoffs. (They’re 11th in the West right now. 11th! Behind the Timberwolves and the Jazz!) They’re not playing defense, Pau Gasol can’t figure out where he fits in on offense, guys are complaining about playing time, everyone’s giving each other angry looks, and, perhaps most alarming of all, Dwight Howard may or may not have tried to beat up Kobe Bryant in the locker room.
Per the Daily News:
A league source told the Daily News that the Lakers stars got into a heated exchange following a New Year’s Day loss to the 76ers, and Bryant went for a low blow – referencing and agreeing with Shaquille O’Neal’s criticisms of Howard being soft.
Howard was restrained from going at his teammate, according to the source, and there have been rumblings from the center’s camp that he’s been unhappy with Bryant since earlier in the season.
Spicy. And now, with their two principal stars feuding and the season seemingly in peril, the Lakers sound like they’re shifting expectations a bit. Winning a title is no longer the main goal: making the playoffs is.