Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers was injured during the Lakers' 106-93 loss in Memphis on Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The Los Angeles Lakers lost again on Wednesday night. This time, the Memphis Grizzlies wiped the floor with Kobe Bryant and company 106-93. It was just another routine day at the office for the 2012-13 Lakers.
They started out the day by having a team meeting that involved coach Mike D’Antoni telling players to stop talking about touches and offense, Kobe asking Dwight Howard if Howard didn’t like playing with him, and Steve Nash saying he’ll run whatever plays the team wants to help this team succeed.
After shoot around, Howard apologized for being immature regarding his lack of shots in the wake of the loss to Chicago on Monday night. Howard also proclaimed a new start to the season on Wednesday morning and promised to be more of a factor in terms of energy and effort.
"I think this will be the start of a new season for us tonight," Howard told reporters Wednesday morning.
Then, the ball was put in play at the FedEx Forum, and the Lakers got off to a hot start.
Kobe, in particular, was shooting incredibly well in the first half. He was 7-9 for 16 points by halftime. Unfortunately, the Lakers lost Howard to a shoulder injury with 2:21 remaining in the first half, but the Lakers were not exactly running away with the game while Howard was in it.
When Howard left the game, the Lakers were down by nine points even with Kobe catching fire. Howard’s two points, two rebounds, and one block shot were hardly worthy of praise, and the Grizzlies already had 54 points by then.
Howard may have been missed in the second half, but fans and analysts were fooling themselves if they truly thought Howard being under the hoop in the second half would have changed the result.
He tried hard in the first half, but the Lakers were still getting outscored 28-18 in the paint.
With Howard, the Lakers allowed 59 points in a first half. Without Howard, the Grizzlies scored 47 points in the second half. Still, it would be difficult to argue that the Lakers’ defense was better without Howard, but it is easy to argue that the Lakers’ defense was horrible with either way.
Entering the game, the Grizzlies were the third lowest scoring team in the league at 92.3 points per game. The last time Memphis scored 100 points was on Jan. 11 in an overtime win over the Spurs, and the Grizzlies hit 101 points on that occasion.
Against the Lakers, Memphis scored 106 points.
"I think they played as hard as they can play," D’Antoni said after the game. "That's what's scary."
If it wasn't already, it is going to be a long season.