January 8, 2013
Harry How/Getty Images
Sometimes you need to shake things up, especially when you are the Los Angeles Lakers and you are 15-18 on the season despite having a roster full of All-Stars.
And sometimes shaking things up can be as simple as giving the bench players added minutes while your starters are injured.
Howard is sidelined with a torn labrum in his right shoulder while Gasol has a concussion.
"It shouldn't keep me out for awhile, but to make sure that I'm cautious, to make sure that I'm healthy that's the most important thing," Howard told reporters at the Lakers practice facility after undergoing an MRI that revealed the tear earlier on Monday.
Two Lakers sources told ESPN on Monday that they are cautiously optimistic Howard's injury isn't that severe and will heal within a week or two. Holding him out in the short term is "more precautionary," one source said.
After a stretch of games in which the Lakers won six of seven (including five in a row), it finally seemed as though the team had found its groove. Those thoughts were quickly erased, however, when the team lost its first three games in January.
There's no question there are major issues in L.A. right now. The team doesn't play defense. Howard and Gasol aren't a great pairing down low, especially in Mike D'Antoni's system. Howard and Kobe Bryant may or may not be feuding. Steve Nash hasn't been the savior.
So maybe it will be good for this team to be rid of the low-post presences, open up the system a little bit and just ride Nash and Kobe over the next two weeks. Maybe all this team needs to break out of its funk is to unclog the lane, let Kobe go to work and allow Nash the freedom to create.
I mean, playing some more defense would help, but I'm not going to be unrealistic.
Sure, without Jordan Hill available as well, the Lakers are really thin down low. I wouldn't expect them to win the rebounding battle over the next week or so, something that has been the strength of the team this year.
But you never know what can happen in the NBA. A year ago, D'Antoni was coaching the New York Knicks and dealing with injuries to Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Out of nowhere appeared a previously unknown point guard, Jeremy Lin, who took the NBA by storm.
While I don't envision that happening in L.A., the team is going to have to get a bit more creative and find new ways to win over the next few weeks. If the Lakers can do just that and battle through this adversity, they'll come out the better side as a better team.
Sometimes, the only thing a team needs to gain confidence and come together is defy expectations. And right now, sitting at 15-18 and without two of its best players, people aren't expecting very much from this team.
So, show us what you've got, Lakers. Let's see some fortitude. Change the tide of this season. And when Howard and Gasol return from injury, keep it rolling.
There is too much talent on this team to be this bad. Now, without a major portion of that talent, the team has to make a stand and break out of this funk.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are just waiting for that Gasol trade. I mean, c'mon—it's not working.
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