Maybe you thought the injury bug had passed, that Kobe’s Achilles tear would be enough to appease the dark basketball gods who inexplicably dogged the Lakers all season long. Wrong and wrong again. The maladies cycle and regenerate in direct correlation to whatever the team’s greatest needs and weaknesses are at any given moment. It is beyond reason now, it has gone viral. It has become a macabre plot device – the last man standing, a post-apocalyptic scenario in which the remaining players exit the bunker and look around – are we the only ones left? Until some sadistic winged creature swoops down and grabs another one in its wretched scabby grip. There is no safe place to be. Give us more.
The Kamenetzky Bros offer up another fine podcast on their Land O’Lakers blog – on injuries, the future of Mike D’Antoni,, PJ scenarios and trips to Mars.
C.A. Clark for Silver Screen and Roll examines the Lakers gift that keeps on giving – turnovers.
Dave McMenamin for ESPN Los Angeles writes about the likely loss of Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jodie Meeks for tonight’s game.
Speaking of Meeks, Mark Medina of the LA Daily News is reporting Meeks’ MRI shows a “partial ligament tear. That doesn’t sound good.
Ben Bolch for the LATimes also chronicles the guard corps woes.
Dan Devine for Ball Don’t Lie on a hopeless scenario and Magic Johnson’s affirmation of same.
Sam Amick from USA Today has a different take, this from Dwight Howard who says he’s not going down without a fight.
Mark Medina for Inside the Lakers brings Dwight’s take on the Spurs’ art of flopping.
Finally, Ross Gasmer for Lakers Nation has put together a chart of the Lakers injuries this season.
And more finally, a late-breaking misery loves company report, Russell Westbrook is out for the season. You never want to see a player go down, no matter whose team it is.
Things are seeming grim, just two games into the first round playoffs. But what about the newly-named NBA Development League’s Most Valuable Player? The inside-out game won’t work without perimeter threats. Enter Andrew Goudelock, the 2011 College Three-Point Champ, also drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters for his 4-point ability. The problem of course is the small matter of defense – it’s really not Glock’s forte. Which is why we have Darius Morris, no? At 6-4 he’s got some size and played a bit more this season than last. End of year report cards have indicated potential and he’s managed a place on the roster for insurance reasons. And then there’s Chris Duhon, the nine-year journeyman and third cousin to Robert Sacre.
Sometimes things go so calamitously wrong that you wind up using those guys on the padded leather chairs at the end of the line. They fill a variety of roles – some are practice bodies, some possess a particular skill set and some still have vestiges of the star power that once made them the face of a franchise. Tracy McGrady was recently signed by the Spurs after stints in China and his living room couch. What would you rather have, a guy who was once the truth or a young gunner straight off a minor-league MVP award? Players like Duhon, Morris and Goudelock are often dismissed by virtue of definition – they’re at the end of the bench for a reason. Sometimes the reason becomes the reality you never expected – they’re needed. Here’s hoping the 41st and 46th picks of the 2011 draft do us proud. Just keep an eye on the Staples Center rafters for those screaming death-spiral birds of prey. They might still be hungry.