The stars the Los Angeles Lakers spent all offseason acquiring are dropping like flies this fall, as key early-season injuries have delivered a major blow to L.A.'s title hopes.
That's right. The face of the franchise is in pain after the Lakers' third straight loss to open the season, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin:
"Bryant said he was playing on one leg and told reporters in the locker room after the game that he felt like his right foot was 'about to fall off' during the game."
The Black Mamba played a game-high 43 minutes on Friday night, which is a recipe for disaster moving forward, regardless of how healthy his foot is. Say what you want about the type of competitor and gamer Kobe is, but he has too much mileage on his legs and aching foot to lead L.A. to the promised land playing 40 or more minutes per night.
Will the Lakers still win the West in 2012-13?
Either way, the Lakers' season-opening struggles have certainly given NBA fans and experts reason to believe they won't be raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy at season's end. Even with their four-man core sporting a combined age of 130, most liked the Lakers to cruise in the Western Conference.
But the most unpredictable game-changer in determining the favorite has struck the Lakers—injuries.
I'll take Oklahoma City, San Antonio and L.A.'s other team over the Lakers right now. Who wouldn't?
The Lakers are 0-3 and things are only getting worse on the injury front. If you're a numbers person, then Hoopsworld NBA reporter Alex Kennedy has a telling stat for you via Twitter:
Bad news for the Lakers: Only one team in NBA history has won the championship after starting the season 0-3 (1990-91 Bulls).— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) November 3, 2012
Injuries are always a concern, but when they begin to pile up on your best players, they are a nightmare. And veterans like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are too busy fighting Father Time already.
Sure, things will improve in Hollywood and the Lakers will be contention this season; they're too good not to be. But for now, L.A.'s title hopes have taken a significant hit.
They are battling history, Father Time and now, on top of everything else, a plethora of nagging injuries.
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