by Tommy Gimler
Remember when the Los Angeles Lakers used to beat the Washington Wizards and nobody gave a shit because the Los Angles Lakers were supposed to beat the Washington Wizards? Kobe Bryant does.
Bryant’s league-leading 13th 30-point effort helped end the Lakers’ four-game losing streak, but is winning a game by just six points against a Wizards squad who had only three victories themselves coming into Friday’s contest really that arousing?
“We’re not there yet,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. “We’re not even close. We’re not close to being a good team.”
At 10-14, the Lakers are off to their worst start since the 1993-94 season. And what’s even worse than the Lakers’ performance on the court right now is how little this team, outside of Bryant and D’Antoni, seem to care about it. Dwight Howard was all smiles and a jokester in the locker room after the game, even going as far as referring to another missed free throw that Bryant tipped in as a set play called “12 Miss.”
They might call him “Superman,” but his jokes are super fucking terrible. And worse yet is that these shitty jokes are still better than his free-throw shooting. The big man with the big mouth is still under 50% from the charity stripe this year, but that’s not the only part of his game that has fallen off. His 18.2 points per game is his worst total since the 2006-07 season, and his defensive rebounds are at their lowest mark since his rookie campaign. He’s also committing more fouls and turning the ball over at a higher rate this year.
But Howard wasn’t the only Lakers player ecstatic about the single-digit win over a 3-17 team. According to the LA Times, Chris Duhon could be heard laughing loudly and yelling, “That’s one win. One more is called a winning streak!” Metta World Peace told reporters that the Lakers front office had assembled a great team.
What the LA Times didn’t say is whether or not the reporters went back to make sure they had entered the Lakers locker room. Is this really what you would expect to hear from an organization who has been to the Finals 7 of the 13 years and won five of them? I mean, Chris Duhon has pretty much been a bigger disappointment than the new Linkin Park album his entire career, so maybe he doesn’t know any better. But World Peace has tasted success and has to know that this team is everything but great right now.
The Lakers locker room doesn’t have to look far, though, to find out how to act when you defeat the Washington Wizards by only six points. When you’re a five-time champion, and a three-win dog shit squad almost erases a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against your team, this is how you look after the game, even though you won: