Los Angeles Lakers show their true colors as they fall flat

USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are who they are; a team that delivers disappointment in four games or less. Each glimmer of hope turns to a crushing of soul. Such is life for Los Angeles this season.

This is who the Los Angeles Lakers are.

A team that has had a dash of damn near everything but consistency in a season that has no rainbows but plenty of rain. With each step they take towards morphing pessimism from those who watch every dribble of the basketball in this atrocity of an 82 game season into optimism (or, in most cases, cautious hope), the Lakers can't help but send it all crashing down to the ground in as starkly deflating a fashion as possible.

The plane has taken off and reaches heights in a beautifully blue sky that we had always hoped for with this team. When it comes time to believe, time to buy-in, we're handed our parachutes and given the thumbs up. Time to glide through the skies.

Before we've prepared ourselves and gathered our courage, they push us out of the plane. The immediate panic of looking down at the world so far below us as the free-fall commences begins to subside. Much like the agita they provide us during nights like last night. As Dwight Howard cringed in pain, once again aggravating the torn labrum in his boulder shoulder, the Lakers were still clinching onto a lead. With the seven game road trip beginning a loss to the Phoenix Suns would be tragic. There's no way they squander this game, right? There's just no way they let such a critical game out of their quivering hands. They can't.

But, they did.

With the wind whipping against our face causing it to ripple and fold in the strangest of ways as we descend it's difficult to appreciate the beauty of Earth. Lush greenery, crystal blue bodies of water, and vibrantly colored sectors of flowers that exist simply because the world is a beautiful place. There's beauty in the game the Lakers play as well, specifically, when the ball is moving. Or, as Coach D'Antoni loves saying, when the ball finds energy. Much has been made regarding Kobe, the facilitator, but the Lakers simply need players to create for an offense that looks statuesque more often than not. Whether it's Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, or the ghost of Derek Fisher, somebody needs to breathe life into the offense.

The way they give up leads. The way they play so lackadaisically; lacking the urgency necessary for a team that isn't even in the playoff seedings currently, is poisonous. It turns crisp blue rivers into grotesque holes filled mud, green trees full of life into skeletal branches devoid of chirping birds, and luminescent flowers into rotting ground. The switch from beauty to a repulsive scene all but a Michael Beasley bucket away.

This is who the Los Angeles Lakers are.

There is no certainty left for the purple and gold. Wins that should be banked on are being held up in armed robbery fashion. There's no such thing as a free lunch, or a free win. More often than not the Lakers put their car in neutral and are left wondering why they've been defeated so soundly. Here's a helpful hint: never take your foot off the gas. Losing games to the Phoenix Suns after such a superb stretch of victories makes it even more infuriating. How can we ever believe in the Lakers when they do things like this. The Los Angeles Lakers needed to not just scrape together a win last night, they needed to dominate and strut out of Phoenix leaving no doubts that the Lakers had found something

Anything.

Instead, they walked out as empty handed, soul crushed, aggravated shouldered losers. Another surging fire turned to smoldering ashes. The players need to play. Even simpler; how about just catching and holding onto the ball? The unforced turnovers the Lakers gave up weren't signs of poor coaching or an unworkable system. They were signs of players who weren't performing. From Kobe's six turnvovers, to Pau Gasol and Earl Clark's four each, there's plenty of "blame" to place. 19 turnovers is unacceptable.

We can break down the offense; how it floundered as the Lakers began to panic when the lead diminished like the distance between us and the ground as we continue to fall from the sky, waiting for the right moment to pull our parachute. Defense wins championships, perhaps even more importantly and down to the core, it protects leads. Last night, the defense left the door open for Michael Beasley to fumble and bumble his way in (literally) and crash right into the case of china the Lakers had begun collecting in their latest reboot of the season. Really, though, two basic things weren't taken care of by the Lakers. Turnovers, which were just harped on, and free throws.

Free... wait for it... throws.

Last night as a whole the Lakers missed 7 free throws. Against the New Orleans Hornets they missed 12. When they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder they didn't convert 13. On the night the Jazz were in Los Angeles there were another 6 missed from the charity strip. That's 56 out of 94 free throws in the last four contests, and put to percentages it equates to 59.6%. The Lakers, on the season, have been 29th in the league in free throw percentage at 68.8%, which is nearly 10% better than what they've put up over these last four games. The worst team in the league at the line has been the Denver Nuggets, who are just an almond sliver below the Lakers at 68.5%. The Lakers have left 38 free points on the table, and are far and away performing as the worst free throw shooting team in the league as of late. What the league calls free throws, the Lakers can go ahead and call them lost possessions (or, lost opportunities for them to turn it over anyway).

This is who the Los Angeles Lakers are.

With each corner turned another bear trap awaits, waiting to snap ankles and leave the Lakers and their fans on the ground in agonizing pain. If the Lakers would stop changing their trajectory and stay on their flat-line of a path at least the detrimental, crushing, losses would stop. But they show it.

It.

Whether it's hope, chance, or just the beauty in the game of basketball it's there somewhere inside. It strings us along just enough. Enough to open our eyes and focus on the scene in front of us; Earth coming closer and closer as our dive from the skies begins to conclude. The adrenaline has our senses wired and unaware of our surroundings, simply caught in the moment. Much like we are when we see the Lakers turn imaginary potential into tangible results.

This journey must come to an end though as reality sets in. We've descended so far down that there's little time to spare, and as we pull the cord for our parachutes our only protection from life and death snaps with no parachute releasing behind us. Frantically we try to reach around the release the chute, but the space between us and the ground we live our daily lives on is diminishing by the millisecond. Just as we find a way to pry the chute open...

This is who the Los Angeles Lakers a-.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

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