The Los Angeles Lakers will not make the playoffs this year. After weeks of hoping and dreaming that somehow this ridiculous grouping of future Hall of Famers would find a way to turn things around, the realization has finally sunk in.
This team is done. It is beyond salvation.
On Thursday night, L.A. fell to the Boston Celtics 116-95. Much like the Lakers, the Celtics recently suffered the loss of a key contributor. Unlike the Lakers, the Celtics rallied together following that loss – now looking better than they had at any point prior.
Meanwhile, in L.A., things have gone from bad to worse. On top of the perpetually awful performances the Lakers are offering on a seemingly nightly basis, the team is now eating itself alive from within, too. It has become increasingly obvious that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard hate each other, and there is a very good chance that their hate will manifest itself in the latter finding himself a new franchise to join this summer.
The Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks are all interested in the 27-year-old; all three probably seem like heaven on earth to him at this point.
Prior to yesterday’s game, Howard publicly responded to the biggest sports story of the day: Bryant calling him out for not playing through his injury.
"They can say what they want to say," Howard said softly at his locker. "None of these people are playing. None of these people have had injuries. They can say what they want about playing through pain or playing through injuries.
"I spent a whole summer trying to recover because I wanted to play through pain, show people I'm tough."
A few hours later, after Howard scored all of nine points in a 21-point blowout loss to the Celtics, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni reaffirmed Bryant’s stance. He told reporters that Howard had been cleared to play by doctors a while ago, and that he had simply chosen not to.
So for those of you keeping track at home, here is where things stand: Bryant is doing his very best to chase Howard out of town. D’Antoni is helping. Howard is a walking, talking disappointment.
“All along, they were destined to be terrible teammates. They knew it, but could do nothing to stop an inevitable consolidation of their talents,” Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote in a recent column.
That quote right there should be put on the Lakers’ tombstone.