Remember two summers ago, when the Lakers loaded up on free agent around Kobe Bryant with the hopes of challenging the Heat for the NBA title?
Well, nearly a season and half has gone by, and one of the proudest franchises in league history continues to toil away in mediocrity.
Dwight Howard bolted for Houston after just one year in Los Angeles, and with Bryant and Steve Nash both sidelined with injuries, this season’s edition of the Lakers enter their Christmas Day matchup with Miami at a thoroughly unimpressive 13-15.
As expected, there has been grumbling in Laker Nation, especially after the team dropped its last two games by a combined 46 points. But head coach Mike D’Antoni, who now holds a 53-47 record during his L.A. tenure, has no time for fan unrest.
“Why would I be discouraged?” D’Antoni said after Monday’s 117-90 loss to Phoenix, via ESPN.com. “We’re fighting with a bunch of good guys that played well before, and they’ll play [well] again. If [the fans] are discouraged, then, you know, find another team to root for. I’m all right. We’re not going to give up. Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That’s not even fair to these guys.”
Though the Lakers would be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference through 28 games — and a relatively high seed, at that — they will head into Christmas tied for 10th place in the stacked West. D’Antoni’s club has dropped seven of its last 11 contests, allowing more than 100 points in each loss.