Sitting eleventh in the Western Conference and three games behind the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers received news that their primary bigs in Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill have all suffered injuries, which will cause them to miss an unknown number of games for the foreseeable future (more on that below).
This is absolutely the last thing this team needed, given its continued struggles on both ends of the floor. Steve Nash was supposed to be the savior of all things when he returned from a leg fracture, but the Lakers are just 3-4 since his return.
On top of that, a report came out stating that Howard and Bryant nearly came to blows after a loss on New Year’s Day, putting that much more drama around a team that could certainly do without outside distractions at the moment – true or not.
With a variety of adversities standing in the path of the Lakers, it may actually be fair to wonder if this team could potentially miss the playoffs at this point – an unfathomable thought before the season began.
See below to find all updated news regarding the troublesome bunch, along with other items from around the league:
- Stefan Bondy of Daily News originally broke the story about the feud between Howard and Bryant, found here: “Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant just can’t get along, and there’s a team in Brooklyn that might be waiting to pick up the pieces. A league source told the Daily News that the Lakers stars got into a heated exchange following a New Year’s Day loss to the 76ers, and Bryant went for a low blow – referencing and agreeing with Shaquille O’Neal’s criticisms of Howard being soft. Howard was restrained from going at his teammate, according to the source, and there have been rumblings from the center’s camp that he’s been unhappy with Bryant since earlier in the season. Three days after the altercation, following a disheartening loss to the Clippers, Howard complained about the lack of chemistry on the Lakers. It was a comment seemingly directed at Bryant, who is averaging a league-high 22 shots despite playing with three potential Hall of Famers.
- Jarrod N. Rudolph of RealGM, however, said nothing indicates such a confrontation ever happened: “For those wondering, I was told on Thursday that the rumor of a Dwight-Kobe altercation was nothing more than talk. I also know of two other reporters that were made aware of the rumor last week and also told the story wasn’t true when they looked into it.
- Mike D’Antoni shot down the rumors about the fight, from Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles: