After the thrill of opening night, and the joy of sweet revenge on Dwight Howard in Houston, you could be forgiven for thinking positively about the Los Angeles Lakers and their chances to surprise people this season. However, as the results come thick and fast, and the embarrassing blowouts continue to mount, it looks more and more as if the Lakers will be every bit as bad this year as we have prepared you for. We won't know for sure until Kobe comes back, but Steve Nash appears to be on the precipice of basketball mortality, and Pau Gasol might not be too far behind him. It is irresponsible to believe that a 35 year old man coming off of a ruptured Achilles tendon could save this team. It might be irresponsible to even want him to try. The Lakers are not without their merits, with some interesting pieces that are worth investigating further, but more often than not, the Lakers are putting an awful product on the court.
Steve Blake - Fresh off his Player of the Week victory, Steve Blake continued to be the only Laker worth writing home about. He was the team's leading scorer, he shot the ball well, and there was the briefest of moments in which it looked like Blake might lead the Lakers back into contention through his sheer awesome flame-throwing. That it wasn't to be wasn't his fault; he did everything he could., even doling out 8 assists and picking up 3 steals.
Jodie Meeks - 16 points off the bench (nominally, at least) for the spark plug to the Lakers engine. Any game in which Jodie hits double digits and more than 50% of his shots is a good one, and by those standards, he's been having quite a few good games lately. Too bad he's one of the only ones.
The Lakers lottery hopes - For the third time in eight games, the Lakers didn't so much lose as fail to even remotely resemble a competitive basketball team. Despite having three wins to their credit, the Lakers have the 2nd worst point differential in the league, leading only the abominable Utah Jazz. They have won three games, and two of those wins came against impressive opponents, but the Lakers seem to need to click on all cylinders to even have a chance of being competitive on any given night, and that doesn't seem to be happening very often.
4th quarter ratings - At the rate the Lakers are going, Time Warner Cable might demand a refund on some of that billion dollar television contract they signed, because there can't be but a few die-hards who are actually watching Lakers games to their conclusion these days. It's one thing to have a bad team that loses a lot, but the Lakers have nearly a 50% ratio of being out of a game by halftime. Could you guys maybe keep it close enough to force us to pay attention just a little bit longer? I mean, watching a team drop 47 points in the first quarter is entertaining and all, in a rubber-necking "Holy crap, did you see that flipped over SUV on the center-divider" kind of way, but then the quarter is over and the rest of the night is filled with terrible, terrible garbage time basketball.
The bench unit - A collective Burden nod for the bench guys, because there were too many of them who played poorly to warrant individual mentions. Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry all combined to shoot 4-25 from the field, and X's inability to make free throws (0-4 on the night) is starting to negate the one thing he has going for him if his shots don't fall (which they don't very often). Just about every game the Lakers have won, it has been the bench that has led the way, but when they falter, they do so with vigor.
Hope for Steve Nash - What else is there to say? Nash played just 13 minutes, and did not play in the 2nd half due to back pain. He will see the same back specialist who assisted with Dwight Howard's recovery tomorrow to assess him (The doctor's diagnosis will be the same: "You will feel better once you leave the Lakers"). He looks awful, he can barely move, and this is all happening despite the Lakers taking every possible precaution with his health at the beginning of the season. If Nash cannot get healthy now, he cannot get healthy period.