Found December 11, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
CLEVELAND -- Mike D'Antoni stood outside the visiting locker room and stared at the ground. His eyes were bloodshot, his hair a mess, his tie out of sorts. It was as if he had spent the previous 48 minutes tumbling in a clothes dryer. "The state that we're in, that's inexcusable, and we've got to figure it out," he said. D'Antoni was speaking after Tuesday's 100-94 loss to the Cavaliers. It's the Lakers' fifth loss in their past six games, their sixth overall to teams with .500 or worse records. That makes them 9-13. That means the wheels officially are coming off. That doesn't make them entirely desperate -- but they're getting close. Oh so dangerously close. It's true that they still don't have Steve Nash, out with a leg injury. It's true that Pau Gasol missed another game with tendinitis in his knees. But if Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard can't get it done, well, you have to wonder how big of a difference a healthy Gasol and Nash will really make. At the very least, you can't help but wonder if the difference Nash and Gasol make will be nearly enough. This, folks, is downright embarrassing. "That's a harsh word," D'Antoni told reporters. "You may be embarrassed. I'm not." Perhaps a better word to describe the Lakers' situation is "frustrating." Or how about "perplexing." Regardless of the expression used, the bottom line is the Lakers were supposedly built to win a title. Everything else would be considered a failure. But the way things are going, just making the playoffs would be considered a bang-up job. Granted, there's still plenty of time. But at what point do the Lakers pick it up? At what point do they behave like the champions everyone assumed they'd become? At what point do they at least show signs of pulling it together? Because today, man, this ain't easy on the eyes. And when is the last time you could say that about the Lakers? "This is the most challenging stretch I've had of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too" Bryant said. Of course, Bryant was as fantastic as ever. He scored 42 points. He led by example on defense. He played with energy, confidence and determination. For Bryant, that's nothing new. But trailing by 15 points at halftime to an opponent that had won four of its first 21 games -- well, for the Lakers, that's a fairly novel experience. Colder than the Heat Some folks have compared this situation to Miami's two years ago. That's when the stacked Heat of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh stumbled to a 9-8 start. Then they made it to the Finals. Then they won the whole thing last season. This is different, though. These renovated Lakers' are worse than those Heat ever were in 2010. It's really not even close. The Lakers lose when Kobe scores more than 30. They lose when Dwight Howard grabs 20 rebounds (as he did Tuesday). They lose when they start fast and finisher faster. They just lose, a lot, period. "It doesn't make any sense," Bryant said. "We're still finding ways to lose games." Then he pulled out another buzzword. "It's extremely frustrating," he said. "We can be two completely different teams in both halves. It's like Jekyll and Hyde. I don't know if we're too old, it takes us too long to get started or what." Then Bryant paused, searching for a solution. He came up with nothing. "I don't know, I don't know," he said, slowly. "It's hard for me to put my finger on it." It's hard for everyone, including the man who was hired a week into the season to figure it out. "We play at a very slow pace and we struggle," D'Antoni said. "Maybe it shifts over to defense. Maybe we're slow. Maybe we can't do it." Maybe the Lakers' can't do it? Seriously? With Bryant, Howard, Nash and Gasol? Anyone who suggested as much, oh, six weeks ago would've been fitted for a straightjacket. Now, the doubt is coming from the Lakers' own coach. And it's justified. On the bright side (well, the not-so-awful side), the season is barely a quarter old. The Lakers still have 60 games to prove they're something more than one of the NBA's biggest busts. Howard, for one, is willing to play the role of believer. "We've got to stay focused and stay strong,'' he said. ''We can't let this break who we are as a team." Howard added that the Lakers "want to win, we're sick of losing." Now, all the Lakers need to do is go out and do it. At first, that seemed like such a given. The fact they haven't is, well, yeah. It's baffling. "Right now, we're all screwed up," D'Antoni said. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Mike D’Antoni snaps at columnist T.J. Simers (Video)

The mounting frustration over the Lakers’ poor start to the season culminated with new head coach Mike D’Antoni snapping at a media member following the team’s 100-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who has been an irritant to most LA sports figures for the past two decades, was grilling D’Antoni over the team’s lack...

Steve Nash on return to Los Angeles Lakers: I’m not even in shape

The Los Angeles Lakers are crumbling. The primary response to their recent addiction to losing is that they are waiting on point guard Steve Nash to return from injury to get the party started. New coach Mike D’Antoni’s system has flourished in the past with Nash at the helm. Cutting to the chase, it’s going to be some time before Nash returns according to his recent comments...

Steve Nash has nerve irritation in left leg

Y! Sports reports that Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash is battling a nerve irritation in his left leg.  That seems to be the main reason why his return to the lineup has been delayed.  Apparently, Nash’s leg fracture has been healed for the past month.  The whole nerve irritation is what has been holding him back.  Nash has been keeping up with his handles and his...

Gasol to keep starting job, at least initially

Pau Gasol will remain a starter when the tendinitis in his knees subsides to the point that he can play again. For the time being. Subject to change. Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said he wanted to see how the power forward and injured point guard Steve Nash play together before making any adjustments to his lineup. "I'm not going to mess with Pau," D'Antoni...

Lakers' Nash feels he'll miss at least two more weeks

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash told USA Today Sports that he's unlikely to play for at least another two weeks, as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg. Nash has been out since fracturing his left fibula in a collision with Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard on Oct. 31. "I think it will be at least another two weeks," Nash told...

Trade Rumors Continue To Swirl Around Gasol

How can we talk about the Los Angeles Lakers without continuing to question Pau Gasol and whether or not he's going to stick around or be shipped off?

No easy answers for 'baffling' LA

CLEVELAND -- Mike D'Antoni stood outside the visiting locker room and stared at the ground. His eyes were bloodshot, his hair a mess, his tie out of sorts. It was as if he had spent the previous 48 minutes tumbling in a clothes dryer. "The state that we're in, that's inexcusable, and we've got to figure it out," he said. D'Antoni was speaking after...

J.R. Smith Takes Shot At Kobe Bryant On Twitter

J.R. Smith responded to some Laker fans on Twitter Wednesday night.  During the spree, Smith bashed Kobe Bryant insinuating he takes too many shots. This, coming from one of the most ridiculed players at shot selection. Does having a better record 21 games into the season justify Smith talking trash about one of the greatest players of all time? You be the judge: Yea shots! RT ...

Cavaliers 100, Lakers 94

CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers ran into one of the all-time greats. But not even Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's season-high 42 points could ruin the return of Cavs guard Kyrie Irving on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena. Irving had 28 points, six rebounds and a season-high 11 assists in the Cavs' exciting 100-94 victory over the struggling Lakers. He had missed the previous...

D'Antoni: Lakers must play like Knicks

Mike D'Antoni never built the team he wanted in New York. Now he looks at the Knicks and sees what he would like his Lakers to become. D'Antoni returns to Madison Square Garden on Thursday for the first time since resigning as Knicks coach last March, hoping to see the type of performance his new team hasn't demonstrated nearly enough. The Knicks were a disappointment...

Irving's return sparks Cavs past Lakers

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers ran into one of the all-time greats. But not even Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's season-high 42 points could ruin the return of Cavs guard Kyrie Irving on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena. Playing for the first time since Nov. 18, Irving had 28 points, six rebounds and a season-high 11 assists in the Cavs' exciting 100-94 victory...

Kyrie’s Double-Double Puts Lakers In Trouble, Cavaliers Win 100-94

There truly has not been a lot to cheer about so far this season for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was until Tuesday night, when reigning NBA Rookie Of The Year, point guard Kyrie Irving returned from a stint on the injured list with a double-double; helping the Cavaliers top the Los Angeles Lakers at Quicken Loans Arena, by a final margin of 100-94. After missing the last...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.