There is an alternate universe somewhere in which the Lakers stayed healthy, and people still speak of them as Finals contenders.
Must be a nice place.
Friday night at Staples Center, the Lakers took the floor short Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jodie Meeks, with Metta World Peace playing one-legged after having fluid drained from his surgically repaired left knee earlier that afternoon, and a starting backcourt consisting of a point guard who should have just finished his senior season at Michigan (Darius Morris) next to a guy who wasn’t in the league two weeks ago (Andrew Goudelock).
The Lakers, who intended to have Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Nash, World Peace, and Bryant as the core of their team, finished the third quarter with Morris, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison, and Jordan Hill.
In a playoff game.
Against Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker.
And in this universe, that can only mean one thing: Final score, 120-89, the worst home playoff loss in franchise history. San Antonio up 3-0 in the series.