The Los Angeles Lakers could have used Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 29, 2013.
On Sunday night, Xavier Henry, a Los Angeles Lakers fan-favorite, suffered a knee injury in the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers. To literally add insult to the injury, the Lakers went on to lose 111-104 to the second worst team in the NBA.
If Sunday night was not rock bottom, it was pretty darn close.
Losing to the 8-21 Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center was insulting on several different levels. Entering the game, the 76ers had lost nine of their last 10 games and arrived in Los Angeles on the second night of a back-to-back. Even worse, Philadelphia only had one road win on the season and 13 straight losses outside the “City of Brotherly Love.”
So, how did the Lakers lose?
To start with, LA committed 22 turnovers, twice as many as Philadelphia. Off those 22 turnovers, the 76ers scored 27 points. Nick Young was the biggest offender with six turnovers, but seemingly everyone was stepping out of bounds and playing sloppy basketball.
Also, the Lakers shot dreadfully from the field. The Lakers are third in the NBA in three-point attempts with an average of 25.5 three-point shots per contest. On Sunday, LA attempted 37 three-pointers and only made 12 of them. From the field overall, the Lakers shot 37 percent--not good.
However, LA was facing a bad team, so the Lakers were never entirely out of the game until the closing moments.
To compound the Lakers carelessness with the ball and their poor shooting from just about everywhere, the home team also allowed 111 points. That's unacceptable. Along with allowing points off turnovers, the Lakers failed to protect the painted area. The 76ers scored 52 points in the paint compared to only 28 points in the paint by LA.
Comprehensively, the Lakers deserved to lose on Sunday.
Save for a small stretch to start the game, the Lakers seemed to be second best throughout the night. LA has now lost five in a row including successive games to the worst team in the Western Conference and the second-worst team in the NBA.
With Henry undergoing an MRI on his strained right knee on Monday, the Lakers may yet fall further.
Luckily, the Lakers did got a bit of a spark from Kendall Marshall, an emergency point guard signed on Dec. 20. Still, counting on a point guard who was in the NBA Development League two weeks earlier is a long shot.
The Lakers are currently five games below .500 and on a five-game losing streak. Another injured name has been added to the list. If any doubt remains as to whether the Lakers have hit rock bottom, a loss to the NBA’s worst record on Tuesday would certainly be about as low at this low can get.