That’s what it felt like for the fans during the worst loss in Los Angeles Lakers history Thursday night.
It was pretty bad for the players, too.
Embarrassing, for sure.
But to reach that level of dejection, you have to be deeply invested in something, and the guys currently wearing the purple and gold really don’t have much connection to the franchise.
Most won’t be here long. Some just got here. The rest are trying to figure out what category they fall into.
“I’ve never been in a game where a team won by 50,” veteran center Chris Kaman said.
Never mind that the Los Angeles Clippers actually beat the Lakers by 48 points. The part of that statement that’s actually in doubt is the use of the word “team.”
The Lakers are a team because that’s what you call a group of guys who wear the same jersey and compete in games together. But this is no team. It’s a group of nice guys trying to make the best of an awful situation.
The Lakers aren’t building a culture or molding a young core group of guys. In a way, they’re auditioning whoever is left standing for next year. But even a good showing in this last quarter of the season doesn’t guarantee anyone anything.
“You have a lot of guys on one-year deals,” Kaman said. “There’s a lot of guys who are worried about that. It’s definitely on the back of everybody’s mind. And if it’s not, they’re not telling the truth. It’s hard.”
To their credit, the Lakers have been giving a good effort most nights and competing well enough to give the fans a good show.
But every so often there are nights like this, where they absolutely get worked and the best thing for all involved is for it to end quickly.
But every so often there are nights like this where they absolutely get worked. That’s what happened against the Clippers.
The Lakers live and die by the 3-pointer and one-on-one play. All of D’Antoni’s offensive concepts have been watered down while they try and fit in newcomers Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. When those shots don’t fall, it creates long rebounds and fast breaks for the other team. A game can get out of hand very quickly.
The Clippers led 29-27 after the first quarter, then the floodgates opened. By halftime it was 73-40. That’s right, the Clippers scored 44 points in the second quarter; the Lakers scored 40 in the first half.
It was ugly. Fans didn’t even wait for the second half to start before leaving. The teams played the second half, but even the Clippers started taking pity on the Lakers and lifted their starters midway through the third quarter when the margin got to 48.
“This was the worst loss I’ve been a part of at any level,” Lakers guard Jodie Meeks said. “Even if it wasn’t the Lakers, nobody wants to lose by that much. It’s embarrassing. There’s not much to say. We didn’t, for whatever reason, come to play, and they did.”
Ah, but it is the Lakers.
That means something to their millions of fans.
That means something to all the longtime staffers who have seen far, far better days.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak looked to be in all states of agony just watching. D’Antoni was enraged for most of the game, then sad.
“They’re trying. It’s not like they’re not trying,” D’Antoni said, protective of his players to the end. “When you’re a little bit slower than the other team and a lot less athletic, they just carved us up.
“We’ll do a lot of things, but just going in and yelling and screaming is not going to help a whole lot.”
This loss was so bad, it felt like it could be the one that ends D’Antoni’s star-crossed Lakers career. Initially at least, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Kobe Bryant has been increasingly silent as this awful season winds its way to its eventual end, but even he knew this was a night the people needed to hear something -- anything -- to make them feel like this will all be over someday.
“Misery = Motivation #thanku #urwelcome,” Bryant tweeted after the game.
He’s not coming back anytime soon to help. Mostly likely, he’s not coming back at all this season.
That’s a sobering thought. But sometimes you get to the point where you just want it to stop. End and be over. End and never be like this again.
No matter how miserable games get, they do eventually end. So do seasons.
But how do the Lakers make sure the rest of it stops, too? The losing? The frustration? The lack of direction?
They won’t be a team again until those questions are answered.
LOS ANGELES -- It really was only 4 1/2 months ago that the Los Angeles Lakers drilled the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night to stun the NBA.
That night isn't even a memory after the way the Clippers have manhandled their in-city rivals in the two meetings since. The Clippers drilled the Lakers 142-94 Thursday night, the worst loss in Lakers history. The previous worst loss was a 46-point defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers in 1995. It was the second consecutive game the Clippers beat the Lakers by more than 35 points -- the Clippers won on Jan. 10 by 36, but this was way, way worse.
All five Clippers starters finished in double figures. Blake Griffin would've had a triple-double if he'd played more than 26 minutes. But he settled for 20 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and one earth-shattering alley–oop dunk that you'll be seeing in highlights for a while. Darren Collison led the Clippers with 24 points.
But all of these statistics are basically meaningless in a game that became a farce long before halftime.
How it happened: This one was close for a quarter. And then it really, really wasn't. The Clippers went on a 29-4 run to open the second to break this one open in embarrassing fashion. It was so over by halftime, large groups of Lakers fans started heading home. Hey, it's Thursday. "Scandal" is on.
What it means: One look at their records entering the game clued you in on how far apart these franchises are at the moment. Nothing that happened or could've happened Thursday was going to matter in the standings. Still, you can't just lose to your in-city rival by 48 points without it leaving a large welt.
Hits: Pau Gasol continues to give the Lakers veteran leadership and solid production since returning from a groin injury two weeks ago. He had 21 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes Thursday. Xavier Henry finished with 15 points in 19 minutes in only his second game back from a knee injury.
Misses: Um, everyone not named Pau Gasol or Xavier Henry. Those two players shot a combined 13-for-25 from the field (52 percent). The rest of the team shot 21-for-61 (34 percent). We'll have no further comment.
Stat of the game: 44. That's the number of points the Clippers scored in the second quarter of Thursday night's romp. The Lakers scored 40 in the first half.
Up next: The Lakers have one of the worst back-to-backs a Western Conference team can have Friday. They'll fly to Denver after Thursday’s game, drive an hour from the airport to their hotel, lose an hour because of the time difference, get to bed around 4 a.m., then try to get a little rest before playing the Nuggets on Friday night at altitude.
LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds during three thunderous quarters by the Los Angeles Clippers, who routed the Lakers again 142-94 Thursday night to extend their winning streak to a season-best six games.
Darren Collison had a team-high 24 points while starting at shooting guard for the injured Jamal Crawford. Chris Paul added 13 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who apparently are trying to make up for decades of humiliation at the hands of the Lakers all in one season; they've won the last two meetings by a combined 84 points.
This was the Clippers' largest victory margin over their longtime tormentors, and their sixth victory in the last seven meetings -- including a four-game sweep last season.
The last time the teams met on Jan. 10, the Clips won 123-87.
After the Lakers’ 132-125 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, a game in which Jordan Farmar had 20 points and eight assists in 26 minutes while starting the second half at point guard over Marshall, D’Antoni said he was considering a lineup change, but ultimately decided to stand pat.
“[Farmar] will probably finish the [Clippers] game, maybe, we’ll watch it,” D’Antoni said after shootaround Thursday. “But we’re good.”
Marshall has gone scoreless in four out of the Lakers’ last five games, going 3-for-24 (12.5 percent) overall during that span.
“He has to get out of his slump, mini-slump, and we think the best way to get out of it is to play out of it,” said D’Antoni. “You got to be careful with peoples’ egos. It’s a tough position anyway, and just because somebody is in a little bit of a slump you don’t want to exacerbate the problem. That’s one. And Kendall is good about distributing the ball, getting it up and throwing the ball up and getting everybody involved.”
Marshall was the last player on the Lakers’ practice court Thursday, getting up extra shot attempts.
“You miss shots,” Marshall said. “You can’t expect to shoot 100 percent all the time. It’s a part of the game. You’re going to miss shots, you’re going to go through a slump, but you got to find a way to get out of it.”
Marshall, who has averaged 9.4 points, 11.0 assists and 34.3 minutes in 24 games as a starter with L.A. and 7.2 points, 5.3 assists and 21.0 minutes in nine games off the bench, said that he tries not to worry about a starting role.
“It’s all about what you do when you’re on the court,” Marshall said. “Whether that’s six minutes, 20 minutes or 40 minutes, you got to make the most of that time. Jordan has been playing great for us, we’ve played well when he’s on the court and he’s a great teammate.”
Despite Marshall’s shot being off lately, he has still dished out double-digit assists in each of the last three games. It is a rare feat by the second-year player. While Marshall totaled zero points and 10-plus assists in two of the last three games, the rest of the league combined has just three games like that all season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
“Obviously I’m still able to get my teammates involved,” Marshall said. “So, as long as I’m doing that, the scoring is a bonus. But the main thing for me, what I strive in, is getting teammates involved.”
Perhaps the matchup with the Clippers’ Chris Paul will motivate Marshall. Paul, who Marshall said was the best point guard in the league, has become a bit of a mentor to the fellow ACC product (Paul went to Wake Forest, Marshall went to North Carolina) and Marshall even participated in Paul’s camp when he was younger.
“He’s kind of been like a big brother to me, honestly,” Marshall said. “From my time late in high school to throughout college, he was always giving me a word of advice and this summer, even when I went through being waived and stuff, he was there talking to me and everything. So, he’s been great for me and he’s a guy that I really look up to.”
Paul has helped Marshall’s confidence grow during his unconventional path in the NBA, from being traded by the team that drafted him (Phoenix) after just one season, to being waived by the Washington Wizards to being called up from the Delaware 87ers of the D-League by the Lakers.
“Just telling me that I am a player in this league and guys are going to go through these types of things all the time,” Marshall said of Paul’s advice. “You just have to find a way to fight through it.”
If Marshall doesn’t retain his starting spot moving forward, he could soon find himself competing with Xavier Henry for back-up point guard minutes. Henry, back on the court this week for the first time since a bone bruise in his right knee sidelined him in late December, will get a chance to run point also.
“We could go bigger which helps a lot of the mismatches,” D’Antoni said. “Yes, it’s something we want to try. I don’t know if we’re quite ready yet. But it’s something we want to look at in the last 20 games.”
Lakers forward Jordan Hill will not play against the Clippers and is considered day to day because of a sore right knee. Hill had already found himself out of D’Antoni’s rotation, collecting two straight Did Not Play – Coach’s Decisions in the Lakers’ last two games.
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The Clippers' first season in Los Angeles came in 1984-85. From that point through 2010-11, which was the season prior to acquiring Paul, they posted a .349 win percentage -- worst in the NBA during that span. During that same timeframe, the Lakers had a .659 win percentage -- best in the NBA.
The Clippers are 6-3 in head-to-head games against the Lakers since acquiring Paul (won 5 of the last 6). From 1984-85 through 2010-11 (season before CP3 arrived), the Clippers were just 28-95 against the Lakers (.228 win pct).
Since the Clippers traded for Paul prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, the Clippers have posted a .657 win percentage, 5th best in the NBA. The Lakers, meanwhile, have gone just 107-102 -- the 14th best record in the league.
Paul is averaging 20.5 points and 11.9 assists per game in 28 career games against the Lakers. Paul and Isiah Thomas are the only players in NBA history with career averages of at least 20 points and 10 assists against the Lakers (min. 5 GP).
While the Clippers have championship aspirations this season, the Lakers will be looking for a quick rebuild through a high draft pick and upcoming salary cap flexibility. But it’s worth noting, Kobe Bryant’s last playoff game came on May 21, 2012 (missed last postseason due to an injury). If the Lakers rebound and make the playoffs next season, it will be almost 3 full years since he played a postseason game.
LOS ANGELES -- The show begins promptly at 5:45 p.m. before every home game, and Doc Rivers never disappoints. Ask him about the Los Angeles Clippers' game in a couple of hours, the last round of golf he played, David Stern's retirement, Blake Griffin's evolution, a free agent the Clippers might be recruiting, or Clayton Kershaw's $215 million deal and Rivers is money. He's quick with a joke and pitch perfect with soundbytes, he remembers inside jokes from three games ago, he can be interesting and insightful, and he's always, always on message.
Of all the things Rivers has accomplished in his first season coaching the Clippers -- and if you asked that during one of those pregame sessions he'd tell you he hasn't accomplished anything until the playoffs -- this is one of the most significant.
In only eight months, Rivers has become the voice of this franchise. He is unquestionably in charge. It is unquestionably his team.
And while those fans would rather not have to think twice about seeing a Pelicans team that came into the game on an eight-game losing streak completely take it to their team by shooting 59.7 percent from the field and lead by as many as 21 points, there was actually a lesson to be learned in observing New Orleans.
Davis isn't just any No. 1 pick, either. His 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting, 15 rebounds and three assists Tuesday was a mere taste of what the second-year big man can do. Heck, it wasn't even his best game against the Lakers this season. The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder put up 32 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks against them back in November.
Talk to people around the league and they'll tell you that Davis is one of a handful of young players they could envision being the linchpin on a championship team.
This isn't meant for the Lakers' faithful to lust over Davis' services (he won't be leaving New Orleans until 2019 at the earliest, unless he's traded), but rather realize that the road map to the future can be a bumpy one.
Even if the Lakers somehow out-tank the four teams with worse records than them down the stretch -- Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando and Boston -- and end up with the best player the draft has to offer, be it Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum or somebody else, there will still be a growth process to endure.
Starting with the draftee himself. Davis had a solid rookie campaign, averaging 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks, but Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he didn't stand out as the team's best player until New Orleans started to struggle with injuries this season.
"I think this has been a blessing in disguise in that he's been able to stamp his claim as the franchise player," Williams said before Tuesday's game, citing injuries to Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday that have thrust more responsibility on Davis' broad shoulders. "Now, when those guys come back, I think they have to adapt to his game. So, with all the stuff that we've been through this year -- no tragedies, just a lot of injuries and things that we can't control -- that's the one thing that, among other things, we can go into the summertime and say, 'We know he is the guy.' "
LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Davis had 28 points and 15 rebounds, Eric Gordon also scored 28 and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Lakers 132-125 Tuesday night to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Brian Roberts scored 10 of his 19 points for New Orleans during a 1 1/2-minute span in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans had 24 points and 11 assists, helping the Pelicans salvage the finale of a five-game road trip that included a 32-point loss to the Clippers on Saturday night at Staples Center.
The win ended a string of nine straight road losses to the Lakers and was only the third for New Orleans in the last 18 meetings overall -- including a 96-85 victory Nov. 8 in which Davis had a career-high 32 points.
LOS ANGELES -- Confidence was high coming into the night for the Los Angeles Lakers. As bad as this season has been, they actually had something to smile about for the first time in forever and were hoping to keep it up with a little celebrating of their own as they hosted the New Orleans Pelicans.
L.A. was coming off its most impressive win of the season in Portland on Monday and had the chance to tie its longest win streak of the season at three as long as it took care of the struggling Pelicans who limped into Staples Center, losers of eight straight.
"They never quit trying," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game, asked to reflect how his team was finally turning it around. "Sometimes things click and guys play good together at the right time and that gives you confidence.
"It's just taken awhile."
The same could be said about Tuesday night's game, a 132-125 loss.
The Lakers trailed by 12 points after the first quarter and by as many as 21 in the third before mounting a comeback. They had the deficit cut to 10 heading into the fourth and all the way down to four only a couple of minutes into the final quarter after a MarShon Brooks basket, but the Pelicans quickly doubled their lead back to eight.
The margin stayed in that range before the Lakers got five straight points from Jordan Farmar to cut it to five with 3:38 left.
The Lakers' small-ball lineup worked in spurts, giving the team a chance to score in bunches in the open court when it created stops with its activity on the other end.
The problem was, as it has often been this season, there was no consistency to their effectiveness on defense, which put a lot of pressure on their offense to perform at peak levels to have a chance.
So even though L.A. scored in the 120s, ultimately two missed 3-pointers from Kent Bazemore and Farmar in the final minutes ended up doing the Lakers in because, of course, they also allowed the Pelicans to score in the 130s.
They fought to get back into it against New Orleans, but it proved too little, too late, as the Lakers fell to 21-40.
How it happened: Pau Gasol scored the first 13 points of the game for the Lakers but was still outscored by Anthony Davis 17-15 after the opening quarter. It was an omen of what was to come, as L.A.'s offensive power just couldn't match its defensive shortcomings.
What it means: This one is sure to take some wind out of the Lakers' sails. Even though L.A. was on the second night of a back-to-back, the Pelicans were on the last day of an eight-day trip and should have been ripe for the picking.
Hits: Gasol scored a season-high 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting to go with 12 rebounds and four assists.
Farmar started the second half at shooting guard and finished with 20 points and eight assists.
Xavier Henry looked a bit like his old self in his second game back from his right knee injury, scoring 12 points in 14 minutes to go with two assists and an impressive open-floor dunk.
Bazemore tied his career high with 23 points, including 13 in the third when L.A. tried to get back in the game.
Jodie Meeks scored 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting.
Misses: L.A.'s defense allowed New Orleans to shoot 46-for-77 (59.7 percent).
The Lakers had 14 turnovers leading to 18 points for the Pelicans and were outrebounded 39-30.
Stat of the game: 24. The Pelicans had three players score 24 points or more in Tyreke Evans (24), Eric Gordon (28) and Davis (28).
Up next: The Lakers get the day off Wednesday before another back-to-back set, at home on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers and on the road Friday against the Denver Nuggets.