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Plaschke: Lakers’ season a collection of pratfalls, airballs

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#Plaschke #Lakers #season #assortment #pratfalls #airballs

After the Lakers blew a lead and misplaced to Golden State within the first sport of this season, LeBron James was requested whether or not he had any recommendation for Russell Westbrook, who had made all of 4 baskets.

“I advised Russ to go dwelling and watch a comedy,” James stated.

It seems Westbrook didn’t have to go dwelling for that.

His staff was a comedy. The Lakers’ play could be laughable. The subsequent six months had been pure slapstick.

In producing probably the most disappointing season in franchise historical past, the Lakers have been one huge joke wrapped round a collection of punchlines.

Well-known first phrases

The Lakers had been 0-6 within the preseason, dropping by a mean of 15 factors per sport.

“Not regarding,” coach Frank Vogel stated.

Oh, he bought it

Earlier than the season opener, Dwight Howard took the microphone, welcomed the then-Staples Middle crowd and ended his speech with, “Let’s get it!”

Three days later, in the course of the Lakers’ second sport in opposition to Phoenix, Anthony Davis angrily grabbed Howard by the jersey and shoved him backward into the Lakers’ bench.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis fights for a loose ball against the Clippers.

Lakers ahead Anthony Davis fights for a unfastened ball in opposition to the Clippers on Dec. 3.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Instances)

It’s actually that horrible

In early January, with position gamers slowly getting back from accidents, the Lakers beat Atlanta to win their fourth consecutive sport.

“We’re getting our guys again,” James stated. “It’s actually that easy.”

It will be the final time the Lakers would win consecutive video games, giving them a streak-less stretch of virtually three months that ranks because the NBA’s worst this season.

About ‘getting our guys again’ …

When James and Davis play collectively, the Lakers are 11-11.

Foreigner in a land of fine pictures

In a mid-January go to to Sacramento, the operations people at Golden 1 Middle performed “Chilly As Ice” each time Westbrook missed a shot.

He tried 14 pictures that night time. The music was performed 12 instances.

Trolling within the deep

When he wasn’t busy ruining the Lakers, de facto common supervisor Wealthy Paul discovered time to deliver girlfriend Adele to video games.

Throughout one such sport, the U.S. Solar reported that she “can’t cease laughing.”

The Lakers as laxative

Throughout one of many many instances when the criticism of Vogel reached a deafening degree, James refused to hitch the naysayer’s refrain.

“I’m not a damaging individual,” he advised reporters. “So in case you bought one thing to ask me in addition to attempting to s— on any individual, I’ll reply these. … It looks as if y’all are in s— mode proper now.”

Then there’s denial mode

At one level in mid-January, it appeared Vogel may very well be fired at any minute.

“I don’t really feel like I’m underneath siege,” he stated. “It’s not arduous to do my job.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel argues with a referee during a game against the Nuggets.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel argues with a referee throughout a sport in opposition to the Nuggets on April 3.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Instances)

He was positively underneath siege. It turned inconceivable to do his job. Maybe no Lakers coach has misplaced a staff like he misplaced this staff.

He’ll be fired at season’s finish, and he’ll be deeply grateful for it.

Contagious teaching

David Fizdale is the charismatic and revered high assistant coach and was thought of a pure to maneuver into Vogel’s spot besides, um, when Vogel missed six video games due to COVID-19 well being and security protocols, Fizdale went 1-5.

Did he ship them a thank-you card?

In the midst of the season, Jerry West stated the Lakers took away his lifetime season tickets.

Pelinka posterized

Through the week surrounding the All-Star break, James was offended that Lakers basketball boss Rob Pelinka stated James was OK with the staff’s inactivity on the commerce deadline, and he let the world understand it.

First, he retweeted a photograph of Rams common supervisor Les Snead carrying a T-shirt with the phrases, “F-them picks,” referring to Snead’s penchant for buying and selling draft picks to win now.

“LEGEND,” James tweeted. “My kind of man.”

Then he went out of his solution to reward … Oklahoma Metropolis common supervisor Sam Presti?

“The MVP over there may be Sam Presti. … I don’t perceive this man’s eye for expertise. … This man is fairly rattling good,” James stated.

LeBron James reacts after being introduced as part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

LeBron James reacts after being launched as a part of the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Staff throughout All-Star weekend in Cleveland.

(Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Photographs)

The issue, after all, is that James and Paul formed this staff together with Pelinka.

They had been all fairly rattling dangerous.

Shedding combos

The entrance workplace constructed a staff so previous, so mismatched and so ineffective, the Lakers have used 39 beginning lineups this season, or principally a brand new one each different sport.

What are you ready for?

James advised the Athletic that “the door’s not closed” on a return to Cleveland.

Perhaps she desires to hitch him

Whereas watching the Lakers path New Orleans by 25 factors within the third quarter of a sport in late February, co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss out of the blue stood up from her seat and walked out.

If the brick suits …

In early March, along with his struggles now symbolic of the Lakers’ nightmare, Westbrook lashed out against fans who would chant “Westbrick.”

“Westbrick, to me, is now shaming. It’s like shaming my identify. It’s my legacy for my children,” he stated. “I believe numerous instances I let it slide, nevertheless it’s now time to place a cease to that and put it on discover there’s a distinction, and we want to ensure it’s understood. And each time I do hear it now, I’ll be sure that I tackle it and be sure that I nip that within the bud.”

4 days later in opposition to Washington, he addressed it by taking pictures two for 11.

Corridor Of Famer shamers

Magic Johnson ripped the Lakers for a “lack of effort and no sense of urgency.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called out James, saying, “A number of the issues he’s achieved, he ought to be embarrassed about.”

Shaquille O’Neal torched the Lakers on TNT, saying, “It appears like they’re quitting.”

James Worthy leveled them after a midseason loss to makeshift Portland, saying on Spectrum SportsNet: “That is the bottom level of nearly any season I’ve seen as a Laker through the years. I don’t have any phrases for it as a result of we’ve used all our phrases.”

Not fairly all their phrases.

Audio surfaced from 2019 by which West referred to as the Lakers a “s— present.”

Sad hour

Earlier than a sport in March in opposition to Phoenix, Davis advised ESPN that his groin damage was the explanation the Lakers misplaced to the Suns within the 2021 playoffs, saying, “We all know that. … They know that. … They bought away with one.”

After the Lakers misplaced by 29 factors, Suns star Devin Booker responded, “If ifs had been a fifth, we’d all be drunk.”

From dangerous …

Throughout a 21-point loss in March to the Clippers that clinched the Clippers’ sweep of their four-game season collection, Clippers guard Reggie Jackson danced and preened and crowed.

All James might do is shrug.

“They’re a greater staff,” he stated, and when is the final time any Laker admitted that the hated Clippers had been a greater staff?

The reply is rarely.

Clippers guard Reggie Jackson encourages fans to cheer as he leads the Clippers to a 132-111 win over the Lakers.

Guard Reggie Jackson encourages followers to cheer as he leads the Clippers to a 132-111 win over the Lakers on March 3.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Instances)

To worse …

In a 20-point loss at Minnesota in mid-March, Karl-Anthony Cities mocked a Westbrook airball by wanting round and pretending to seek for it.

Then Patrick Beverley went after Westbrook by shouting, “He’s trash,” and holding his nostril.

Yeah, the Timberwolves.

Air-clamation level

As just lately as Friday night time, the Lakers nonetheless had an opportunity to start salvaging the season in a sport in opposition to New Orleans.

Davis was again. James was again. The staff was intact. The playoffs had been nonetheless a chance. Even after blowing a late lead, James had one shot from past the three-point line within the ultimate seconds to tie it and …

After all.

Airball.