Game Preview - Lakers at Grizzlies: Meltdown

Jonathan Daniel

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a full blown meltdown.

Team meetings, loud arguments. Immature behavior and thinly veiled mutiny. Dwight Howard is mocking Kobe Bryant and criticizing the system. Kobe doesn't like the system. Pau Gasol wants to start. Steve Nash just wants everybody to be appropriately pissed off and respond accordingly.

Finally, the anecdotes and stories, the attitudes and demeanor of the Los Angeles Lakers is being laid bare, and it is every bit the meltdown that the team has been on the court. Nobody is happy, but more importantly, nobody seems all that hopeful of things getting better.

Today, Dwight Howard has appeared contrite for his ridiculous stunt pulled on Monday night after the Bulls game, in which he dragged a stat sheet around the locker room to show everybody how few shot attempts he had. He's paid lip service to the importance of playing hard and focusing on defense. If that turns into a tangible uptick in performance tonight, it will mean that the Lakers problems, as terrible as they are, are fixable (though they will still remain unlikely to be fixed). And it will also mean that any safe harbor Dwight has been afforded as he recovers from back surgery has been sheer bullshit.

Of course, even if Dwight's promise rings true, it may not make a difference. Tonight's opponent is a good team in a tough environment, one that is more than capable of beating anybody on their home floor. The Lakers are not anybody. They are one of the worst teams in the league, with a huge mountain to climb just to get to .500. They are a disaster in every sense of the word. And they are in meltdown.

Sometimes, meltdowns can be learned from. Sometimes they can be recovered and corrected. But mostly, meltdowns end when everything has been destroyed. Tonight, we'll get yet another glimpse as to whether recovery is possible. Don't hold your breath.

Sorry the preview is both late and short today.

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