This Los Angeles Lakers are going through a season that can best be described as a terminal illness, and the expiration date has been known for some time now. On Wednesday, Apr. 16, the Lakers will pass away, but the legacy they leave behind is not worth celebrating.
Back in late December, the Lakers lost a series of three games in a row to the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks. At the time, the Jazz were the worst team in the Western Conference, a title the Lakers have been contending for the past couple months. The 76ers and Bucks were the two worst teams in the NBA, and well, they still are. The Lakers lost to, arguably, the three worst teams in the NBA, and few people outside of Orlando would argue against that.
The initial diagnosis was not good. Was it terminal? Well, it was too early to be certain, but it looked that way.
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Then, January came about. The symptoms grew more apparent: the pain heightened; time slowed; minor injuries lingered; and defense disappeared. The Lakers slowly wilted away day by day.
Playing 15 games in January and only winning three? That will kill a season. Starting on Dec. 21, when the Lakers lost at Golden State, and continuing forward to Feb. 19, when the Lakers were blown out by the Houston Rockets at home, the purple and gold only won five games over a two-month period.
To say it was looking bad was an understatement. The Lakers never looked worse. That is not a hyperbole. Historically, a minor miracle would be required for this Lakers’ team not to finish with the worst record in the history of the franchise (since moving to Los Angeles).
Currently, the Lakers have 22 wins and 44 losses. Since moving to LA, the worst season in Lakers’ history was the 1974-75 season. That year, the Lakers finished 30-52. Simple math says the current Lakers need to split the final 16 games of the season in order to tie that mark.
As a reminder, the Lakers lost by a cool 34 points to the Spurs on Friday night in San Antonio. This is not a team that is capable of finishing with a winning record over any 16-game stretch. This will be a slow and painful death until the final breath; yes, it will be even slower and more painful than it has already been.
Already, these Lakers suffered the worst loss in franchise history: a 48-point blowout defeat to the LA Clippers. By the way, that was a Lakers home game. The final game in the LA massacre series, which is a Clippers home game, will be on Apr. 6.
At that point, the Clippers will whisper their final words. Possibly, that may just be the first 50-point loss in the history of the once-great franchise. The game after that, Dwight Howard will visit the hospital and pay his final disrespects.
As the Lakers lose consciousness and finally exhale those final few breaths, they will be in San Antonio surrounded by bench-warmers. Still, the Lakers will probably lose that game too. At that point in the season, the San Antonio Spurs will likely be resting their starters in preparation for the post-season. In contrast, the recently deceased Lakers team will be preparing for the afterlife.
For their sake, let us hope their season does not flash before their eyes. This was not a season worth remembering.