The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 105-85, and while the game was much closer than the final score would indicate, the result was never really in question. The reason for that is simple. San Antonio shot the lights out for most of the game, taking a short break from making shots at the end of the 3rd/ beginning of the 4th to allow the Lakers make the game look good, before blowing things wide open again with a series of layups and 3 pointers to close the game out. It was nice to see the bench respond to being Kobe-less in the latter part of the game, but the implosion at the end of the game was all too predictable.
But, at this point, the loss is a secondary story to what is quickly becoming an injury situation that can rival even the tragic Portland Trailblazers. Late in the 2nd quarter, Kobe Bryant became afflicted with back spasms, and while he continued to play until the end of the 3rd quarter, I'm saying he was out with injury the entire 2nd half. That's because Kobe, who had knocked his shooting slump to the tune of 7-10 shooting in the first half, did not attempt a single shot in the 3rd quarter, didn't move past the 3 pt line, and moved up and down the court about as well as the 3rd string center in your grandfather's over 70 league.
The Lakers are not a particularly deep team. They have the best top 5 players in the league (starting lineup, but with Odom subtracted in for Fisher), but past that the Lakers are quite thin. And right now, those 5 players are damn near dying.
-Lamar Odom has two busted fingers in one hand
-Ron Artest has two sore feet (one foot even has a medical term associated with it, plantar fasciitus) and also had to ask out of the Lakers most recent game because he's still dealing with the after effects of the concussion he suffered two weeks ago.
-Pau Gasol has a strained hamstring and has missed the last 5.5 games.
-And then there's Kobe Bryant. At this point, Kobe might as well be the dude from the game Operation. What part of his body isn't injured? He's got broken fingers, a bad back, and he recently seemed as if he hyper extended one knee.
The only truly healthy player from the Lakers' big 5 is Andrew Bynum (irony anyone?), and even he is getting over a respiratory infection. Besides, it's not just them. Luke Walton is just returning from a pinched nerve. Sasha Vujacic strained his hamstring. AMMO had the flu. Mbenga has been dealing with a respiratory infection. I know some of these are pretty minor injuries, but the Lakers might seriously be a couple sprained ankles and injury aggravations away from having to forfeit basketball games.
At this point, you can read absolutely NOTHING from the Lakers recent stretch of poor play (1-3 in the last 4). In fact, I'm placing a moratorium on any definitive statements regarding this team for the next month. The Lakers happen to have been blessed with this run of good health just as they hit the hardest part of their schedule (and quite possibly the hardest stretch of schedule for any team in the NBA ... the Texas two-step, a couple games at home and then an 8 game road trip including road games against Cleveland and Boston). At this point, no level of Lakers failure is out of the question, and none of it means a damn bit of nothing. If the Lakers enter the postseason with this level of injuries, they aren't repeating as champions. If they are healthy by that point, none of this stretch means anything.