USA TODAY Sports
When Dwight Howard re-injured his shoulder, the Los Angeles Lakers failed to meet the call of adversity ... again.
The Los Angeles Lakers have, at times, shown to have a great many problems this season. Problems with turnovers. Problems with defense. Problems with shooting. Problems with chemistry. But there is one problem that stands above all, one problem the Lakers have never shown any indication of having a solution for: When adversity has come calling, the Lakers have always, always failed to meet the call.
It's happened all season long. Steve Nash went down in the 2nd game of the season, and the Lakers responded with play so poor, their coach was fired three games later. When the calls don't go their way, or they stop making shots, they lose their way. And whenever Dwight Howard has gotten hurt, or been in foul trouble, the Lakers just fall to shambles without him. Truth be told, the Los Angeles Lakers have had to deal with far more adversity than is normal for an NBA season, probably more than could be handled by all but the most elite teams. Truth be told, the way they've dealt with the adversity is the clearest indication we have that they don't belong anywhere near the elite category.
Tonight, Dwight Howard re-aggravated his torn labrum, and the Lakers were outscored 19-8 from that point on. Now, we're right back on the emotional roller coaster that this whole season has been. It's a ride where every sharp climb is followed by an equally sharp drop, and the next climb is barely visible in the distance. He seemed visibly in more pain than either of the other two times he's hurt, or re-hurt, that shoulder. We will wait once again for word on whether or not he can return without surgery. Honestly, I hope the Lakers shut him down. He's not right, in a variety of ways, and if the Lakers have any hope or intention of signing him long term, now is the time to show him their commitment to his well being.
If Dwight is shut down, the season will be over. It's doubtful the Lakers could make a playoff push without him, and it's impossible that they could make any kind of underdog playoff run. What that means in terms of the roster, only the Lakers front office can know. If news comes back that Dwight will continue to soldier on, then we're right back to square one, a team desperate for some lucky breaks to go their way, in part because the Lakers are a team that cannot handle the shit they've been dealt so far this season.