5 Worst Moments of Mike D'Antoni's L.A. Lakers Era
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Well, that time has already passed the Lakers by as they continue to toil in sub-.500 fringe-playoff-contender mediocrity.
Injuries (including to D'Antoni himself) and the strain of changing systems and philosophies on the fly have hindered the cohesion of the Lakers and created more Hollywood drama than Argo and Zero Dark Thirty combined.
Let's take a look at the five worst moments of the Mike D'Antoni Lakers era.
5. Blown Lead at Phoenix
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At the time this appeared to be a backbreaking loss. The Lakers came in to Phoenix to play the Suns having won three consecutive games after falling to a season-worst eight games under .500.
They were all set to make it four straight as they controlled the first three quarters and took a double digit lead into the fourth.
With 10 minutes left the game looked over with the Lakers up 13 and cruising. After that, though, the wheels just totally came off.
Phoenix outscored the LA 27-8 the rest of the way and Michael Beasley of all people lit up LA for 10 fourth quarter points.
It was a devastating, momentum-killing loss, especially considering it was just the first game of their seven-game Grammy road trip and came against the worst team in the conference.
And to top it all off, Dwight Howard re-injured his shoulder and missed the next three games.
4. Beat Down in Bean Town
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A game versus hated rivals the Boston Celtics on national TV? No doubt the Lakers would be fired up for this one.
Despite Dwight Howard's return from injury, the Lakers got flat-out embarrassed. No one showed up to this tilt except for Kobe Bryant.
Aside from Bryant, the team shot 27-for-72 from the field and 9-for-21 from the line, while allowing the Celtics to shoot 53 percent from the floor an get up by as many as 32 points early in the fourth.
It was a flashback to Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, the last time the Lakers were routed in Boston. Kevin Garnett even managed to reach another milestone, scoring his 25,000th career point.
Lakers fans were back in panic mode after this one.
3. Blown out in the Battle for LA
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In the final game before the All-Star Weekend the Lakers had a chance to make a statement on national TV that they would be a force to be reckoned with in the second half, while also getting some revenge on a Clippers team that had beaten them twice already in the Staples Center Showdown.
This one was ugly from the very beginning. Blake Griffin had 10 points by himself before the Lakers had any, and the Clips were up 15-0 five minutes into the game.
Things didn't improve much from there as the Clippers cracked the century mark by the end of the third quarter (invoking the dreaded Lawler's Law) and cruised to a 24-point victory.
Once again, the Lakers proved that they weren't on the same level as the top teams in the West.
2. Season Long Six-Game Losing Streak
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The Lakers' season-worst six-game losing skid came to a stinging end at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As the marquee game in a full Friday night slate it was a disappointment. The Thunder were head and shoulders above LA that night.
Kevin Durant torched the Lakers for 42 as OKC hit more than half their shots while holding the Lakers to under 40 percent from the field. The Thunder led by as many as 27 in the fourth.
The losing streak was the team's longest since a seven-game slide back in March of 2007.
1. Lakers Fall to Season-Worst Eight Games Under .500
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After suffering their fourth consecutive defeat—a humbling loss to another Western Conference power, this time the Memphis Grizzlies—and their 10th loss in 12 games, the Lakers fell to a season-low eight games below .500 at 17-25.
It was the fastest the Lakers had reached 25 losses since the 1993-94 season and dropped them to a paltry 12-20 since Mike D'Antoni took the reins.
Suddenly, everyone turned on D'Antoni. There was talk floating around about LA just admitting they made a mistake in hiring D'Antoni in the first place and finally replacing him with the real man for the job all along—Phil Jackson.
All hope seemed lost at that point. The Lakers were fading fast from the West playoff race and fans began to speak with increasing certainty about Dwight Howard bailing on the team after this disaster of a season.
It was definitely the lowest point of the Mike D'Antoni Lakers era.