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Lakers Avoid Rock Bottom Against Wizards, For Now

December 14, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) and Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks (20) celebrate on the court against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Lakers won 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers avoided hitting rock bottom, just barely. With a little over 4 minutes to play, the Lakers finally had a bounce go their way. The Lakers had an unproductive possession with no sense of purpose, which resulted in Kobe launching a 30 footer from right in front of the Wizards bench. But the long rebound split two Wizards, and came directly to Jodie Meeks retreating from that corner of the floor, allowing another Lakers possession to run some clock.

I exhaled, and was almost convinced the Lakers would hold on to their eventual 102-96 victory, only their 2nd in 8 games.

The Lakers did not play a consistent 60 minutes once again. They at times controlled the game, and were going to run away with a vintage Lakers victory against a lesser opponent. The Lakers lead by as many as 16. But in a matter of moments the Wizards would cut the lead, as they did just before that long rebound to Meeks.

December 14, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards point guard Shaun Livingston (14) in the first half at Verizon Center. The Lakers won 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers temporarily pressed pause on their plummeting fall to Earth, like Wiley Coyote looking out of the television set at us the viewer, just for a brief moment before continuing his meteoric descent. If they escape this portion of the season, it could turn out to be the best thing that happened to this squad. But if they can’t even see the light above them, it won’t be possible to climb out of the whole from rock bottom.

Despite the embarrassing losses early this week, I don’t think the Lakers have hit rock bottom yet. In the next month, the Lakers have 11 games against teams with .500 or better records. If the Lakers don’t so much as split those games, they won’t be able to climb out past the 7 or 8 seed if they even make the playoffs. I am not very confident they can accomplish that feat, and they need to because they certainly want no part of OKC.

The Lakers now sit at 10-14 on the season. The Lakers must want to erase the embarrassment from Madison Square Garden this Christmas Day at STAPLES Center against those same Knicks. And you better believe that the Clippers are circling the Lakers on their schedule Jan 4th. The Clippers want to make clear what Lakers and Clippers fans are thinking, that the Clippers are the best team in LA. There is nothing on the schedule that indicates the Lakers will start climbing.

The saving grace for the Lakers tonight was Jodie Meeks off the bench for 24 points on 9-14 shooting (only marginally better than Kobe’s 30 points going 9-29). He helped the Lakers go on a big run, and get the lead they never quite relinquished. But the injuries of John Wall and Trevor Ariza saved the struggling Lakers too. It’s nice to get the foot off your throat, but no matter how bad things get I don’t even think this team could call a victory against the Wizards encouraging.

This isn’t rock bottom, But then again, with just over 4 min to play, they did get that long rebound. Maybe the bounces and injury recoveries will finally start going the Lakers way.

Topics: Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers

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