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Summing Up the Los Angeles Lakers' Roller-Coaster Season in Pictures

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Summing Up the Los Angeles Lakers' Roller-Coaster Season in Pictures

The 2012-13 NBA season has been nothing if not turbulent for the Los Angeles Lakers.

From the start of July 2012 up until the present day (smack-dab in the middle of the 2012-13 NBA season), the Lakers have acquired a pair of superstars, revamped their coaching staff multiple times, been proclaimed title contenders, stumbled through a winless preseason, endured a rash of injuries and seen their hopes of even making the playoffs imperiled.

But who needs to rehash every gory detail when the whole mess could just as easily be portrayed through photos and video?

In a photo essay, if you will.

 

The Offseason

July 14, 2012

Steve Nash is greeted by thirsty fans in Los Angeles after landing with the Lakers by way of a July 4 sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns.

 

Aug. 10, 2012

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Dwight Howard basks in the glow of his new home after the Lakers acquire him from the Orlando Magic by way of a blockbuster, four-team trade in August.

 

Oct. 1, 2012

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The media—local and national—swarm Kobe Bryant during Lakers media day at the start of training camp.

 

The Preseason

Oct. 7, 2012

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Mike Brown searches for answers as the Lakers lose to the Golden State Warriors in their exhibition opener. The Lakers finish the preseason with a record of 0-8—the worst such mark in franchise history.

 

Steve Nash wows the crowd in Fresno with his first assist as a Laker—on a bounce pass through the legs of a defender to Robert Sacre.

 

Oct. 21, 2012

Fittingly enough, Dwight Howard's first points in purple and gold came on an alley-oop from Pau Gasol during the team's preseason debut against the Sacramento Kings.

 

Oct. 23, 2012

Sports Illustrated
Steve Nash and Dwight Howard appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

 

The End of the Mike Brown Era

Oct. 28, 2012

NBA
Steve Nash shows up to the Lakers' opener looking rather, er, dapper?

 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Robbie Keane, David Beckham and Adam Levine enjoy their courtside seats at the Lakers' season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. They are among a swath of celebrities who attend the game in anticipation of a “Showtime" resurgence. 

 

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Steve Nash struggles as the Lakers lose to the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks on opening night.

 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes down a hot dog during the Lakers' 99-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on opening night.

 

Oct. 31, 2012

Steve Nash leaves the Lakers' second game of the season with a slight fracture in his left fibula after knocking knees with Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard.

 

Nov. 2, 2012

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Matt Barnes and the Clippers stifle Kobe Bryant and company to send the Lakers to an 0-3 start.

 

Nov. 4, 2012

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard shrugs off L.A.'s slow start to the season as the Lakers roll the lowly Detroit Pistons, 108-79, for their first win of the 2012-13 campaign.

 

Nov. 7, 2012

Kobe Bryant gives Mike Brown the “death stare” during a 95-86 loss to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

 

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Brown coaches what turns out to be his last game with the Lakers.

 

Nov. 8, 2012

Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president and son of team owner Dr. Jerry Buss, indicates during an interview with Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com that Mike Brown's job is safe...for now:

I have no problems with Mike Brown at all. He just works too hard and he's too knowledgeable for this to be happening.

So either the system is flawed or something's going on. Or, like the Triangle, it's very hard to pick up and understand. I'm not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.

The next morning, word breaks that the team has sacked Brown. The coach vacates his post with a record of 42-29 during his time with the Lakers.

 

The Bernie Bickerstaff Era and the Coaching Search

Nov. 9, 2012

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Bernie Bickerstaff leads the Lakers to four wins in five games as the interim head coach following Mike Brown's ousting.

 

The Lakers dominate the Golden State Warriors in Bernie's first game as head coach, but the real story comes from the stands, where fans chant their support for Phil Jackson's return.

 

Nov. 11, 2012

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times breaks the news that the Lakers have decided to pass over Phil Jackson in favor of Mike D'Antoni.

 

Nov. 13, 2012

Robert Sacre has a breakout game...as the Lakers' newest and best end-of-the-bench cheerleader.

 

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Danny Green celebrates his game-winning three to lift the San Antonio Spurs over the Lakers, 84-82. 

 

Nov. 14, 2012

Magic Johnson reacts to the Lakers' coaching choice on ESPN.

 

Phil Jackson offers his thoughts on the Lakers and the D'Antoni hire to TMZ.

 

Enter Mike D'Antoni

Nov. 15, 2012

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Mike D'Antoni observes a Lakers practice while walking around on crutches. D'Antoni is hired just weeks after undergoing knee-replacement surgery in New York. As D'Antoni tells the attendant media during his introductory press conference (via Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk):

We’re built to win this year, this is not a project. We have a window and we’re going to try and get through it.

 

Nov. 18, 2012

Steve Nash gets his “Gangnam Style” on from the sidelines during the Lakers’ 119-108 win over the Houston Rockets.

 

Nov. 20, 2012

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Mike D'Antoni greets Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in his debut as the Lakers' head coach—a 95-90 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

 

Nov. 27, 2012

George Hill hits a crunch-time floater to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Lakers, 79-77.

 

Dec. 2, 2012

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard struggles at the free-throw line as the Lakers lose to the Orlando Magic, Howard's old team. After the game, Kobe Bryant implores Pau Gasol to put his “big-boy pants on” in the wake of a fourth-quarter benching.

 

Dec. 4, 2012

Gasol sits out his first of eight games with knee tendinitis as the Lakers cede a 17-point lead to the Houston Rockets.

 

Dec. 5, 2012

The Lakers break the monotony of defeat with a 103-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets. The night belongs to Kobe, who becomes just the fifth member of the NBA's 30,000-point club with a runner over Robin Lopez in the second quarter.

NBA.com

 

Dec. 6, 2012

Per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the Lakers see Steven Spielberg's Lincoln the night before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder (SPOILER ALERT: Spielberg doesn't depict Abraham Lincoln's death in the film).

 

Dec. 11, 2012

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers fall to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers for their third loss in a row and fifth in six games. Afterwards, Mike D'Antoni snaps at Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, telling him, “You’re starting to piss me off.”

 

Dec. 13, 2012

USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony lights up the Lakers for 30 points—22 in the first quarter—as the New York Knicks roll to a 116-107 win in Mike D'Antoni's return to Madison Square Garden.

 

The Stars (Re-)Align

Dec. 22, 2012

USA TODAY Sports
Steve Nash chips in 12 points and nine assists in his return from a leg injury to spark the Lakers to a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and a 118-115 overtime win at the Golden State Warriors.

 

Dec. 25, 2012

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant sports his new shoe—the Kobe 8 System—on Christmas Day.

 

Pau Gasol drives for a thunderous dunk to seal the Lakers' 100-94 win over the Knicks on Christmas Day.

 

The Lakers Fall Apart...Again

Jan. 1 , 2013

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers lose to the Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day. After the game, Kobe tells the attendant media, “You just saw an old damn team.”

 

Jan. 4, 2013

Poor play aside, the Lakers make some positive news on Twitter. First, Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss reveals that legendary head coach and longtime boyfriend Phil Jackson finally popped the question at Christmas.

 

Then, after dabbling in short-form social media via @nikebasketball, Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) makes his official debut on Twitter.

 

Harry How/Getty Images
The Lakers lose to the rival Clippers for a second time in 2012-13. After the game, Dwight Howard complains about the Lakers' relative lack of team chemistry.

 

Jan. 6, 2013

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
L.A. drops its third straight game, this time to the Denver Nuggets. The next day, the Lakers reveal that Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill will all miss the next few games due to injury.

 

Jan. 7, 2013

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard nearly came to blows in the locker room following the home loss to the Sixers. Kobe responds by tweeting out a photo of himself and Howard setting up for a Mortal Kombat-style brawl in the Lakers' training room as Mike D'Antoni looks on.

 

Jan. 8, 2013

The short-handed Lakers lose to the Rockets in Houston, but Steve Nash picks up his 10,000th career assist on a bounce pass to Antawn Jamison in the second quarter.

 

Steve Nash gets another assist—for letting Metta World Peace wipe his face with a towel drenched in Nash's armpit sweat.

 

Jan. 11, 2013

The Lakers get blown out at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder, prompting Jack Nicholson to ditch his courtside seats with more than seven minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. The loss extends L.A.'s skid to six games—its longest since March 2007.

 

everythingnbastatistics.blogspot.com
It also leaves the Lakers at 15-21, good for 11th place in the Western Conference and five games out of a playoff spot. After the game, D'Antoni declares that the season starts anew with the next game, against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Jan. 12, 2013

The Lakers announce (via sideline reporter Mike Trudell) that Jordan Hill will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury.

 

Hope...Followed by a Midseason Slide

January 13 and 15, 2013

Harry How/Getty Images
Dwight Howard returns from a shoulder injury to lead the Lakers to back-to-back wins over the Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

Jan. 17, 2013

The Lakers lose to the defending champion Miami Heat in a surprisingly close (and sloppy) affair, 99-90. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combine for 66 points, including these three early dunks. But L.A. is ultimately undone by 20 turnovers—six from Kobe Bryant, who shoots 8-of-25 from the field.

 

Jan. 20, 2013

The Purple and Gold slink away from the Air Canada Center with a 108-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Dwight Howard is ejected in the first half after picking up two quick technical fouls. Pau Gasol steps in at center to score a season-high 25 points.

 

Jan. 21, 2013

Gasol is sent back to the bench, from whence he registers 15 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks during an embarrassing 95-83 defeat to the Chicago Bulls. When asked about the future of his role on the team after the game, Pau tells reporters:

I have no idea. I can't really worry about something that is out of my hands so I am just going to stay positive and do my best, but it is not something I am too thrilled about. I wasn't expecting it. But right now we have bigger things to worry about as a group. As a team player that's what I'm most concern about.

 

Predictably enough, Kobe Bryant is none too happy with the result, either. He scores a mere 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting and expresses his frustrations—with the Lakers' play and (implicitly) D'Antoni's "system."

 

Jan. 22, 2013

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that the Lakers aren't interested in trading Dwight Howard this season, but might be forced to reconsider if they think he's likely to depart via free agency in July.

Later that day, general manager Mitch Kupchak tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com that the Lakers' effort (or lack thereof) is the biggest problem and offers his support for embattled head coach Mike D'Antoni.

 

Jan. 23, 2013

The Lakers meet for a testy airing-of-grievances meeting before suffering a 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Dwight Howard leaves in the first half after reaggravating an injury in his right shoulder. After the game, Pau Gasol laments:

We make these teams look a lot better offensively than they really are. That's something that's pretty negative. Pretty alarming.

The defeat is L.A.'s fourth in a row and seventh consecutive on the road. It also drops the Lakers to 0-8 against the top-four teams in the Western Conference and eight games below the .500 mark—their lowest point since the 2004-05 season, when they finished 34-48.

talkingsports.net
At 17-25, the Lakers are officially closer to the bottom of the Western Conference standings than they are to the eighth spot in the playoff hunt.

 

The Talented Mr. Bryant

Jan. 25, 2013

Bleacher Report
The Lakers return home with a 102-84 flattening of the Utah Jazz. Kobe Bryant leads the way, falling just one rebound shy of a triple-double and one assist short of tying his career high of 15. Bryant finishes with more assists (14) than shot attempts (10).

 

Jan. 27, 2013

Harry How/Getty Images
L.A. gets its biggest win of the season—at home over the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-96—with Kobe once again playing the role of Swiss army knife. For the second time in as many games, Bryant winds up with more dimes (14) than shots (12) and just a board short of a triple-double.

 

Jan. 30, 2013

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard reaggravates his bum shoulder, and the Lakers blow a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a 92-86 defeat to the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash scores 11 points and drops two assists in his return to Arizona, while Kobe (17 points, five rebounds, nine assists) continues to play the role of "Mr. Do-It-All."

 

Feb. 3, 2013

Pau Gasol pours in a game-high 23 points, with 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals, and makes a game-saving play on rookie Andre Drummond to secure a 98-97 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

 

Feb. 5, 2013

No Dwight Howard? No Metta World Peace? No problem! Kobe Bryant pushes the short-handed Lakers past the Brooklyn Nets, 92-83, in a game highlighted by the Mamba's emphatic dunk over Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. The win comes at a price, though, as Pau Gasol partially tears his plantar fascia and is later ruled out for six-to-eight weeks.

 

Feb. 7, 2013

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight returns to the floor with some specially designed body armor, but only after some back-and-forth sniping with Kobe through the media. The Rajon Rondo-less Boston Celtics take the Lakers to task, 116-95, in a game in which they trail by as many as 32 points.

 

Feb. 8, 2013

USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers dig themselves a 20-point hole against the bumbling Bobcats but are able to pull themselves out of it in a 100-93 victory.

 

Feb. 10, 2013

USA TODAY Sports
The Purple and Gold put up a fight against the defending champs for most of the afternoon but are ultimately undone by eight costly turnovers in the fourth quarter on the way to a 107-97 loss to the Miami Heat. The Lakers go 4-3 on their annual Grammys road trip.

 

At 24-28 overall, L.A. remains 3.5 games back of the Houston Rockets in the race for the eighth seed out West.

Can the Lakers climb out of their hole with Dwight limited to one good arm and Pau stuck in a walking boot? Will the Lakers make a deal before the Feb. 21 trade deadline? And what's to become of Steve the shooting guard and Kobe the facilitator?

Stay tuned to find out...

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