The run of futility began with a 132-125 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, then continued with a hideous 142-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, before the Lakers fell by a score of 134-126 to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. All in all, the purple and gold surrendered 408 points over the three-game stretch, while getting outscored by a total margin of 63 points.
Thursday's blowout at the hands of the crosstown-rival Clippers represented a nadir for the proud Lakers organization, with the 48-point margin in that game representing the largest loss in franchise history, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The other two losses in the three-game span, while not nearly as embarrassing, still made it quite clear that the 2013-14 Lakers can't play a lick of defense. The Nuggets shot 54.5 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three-point range Friday, and the Pelicans made 59.7 percent of their field-goal attempts in Tuesday's game.
The Lakers' season-long defensive numbers are growing uglier by the day, with the team currently ranking 29th in points allowed per game (107.9), 26th in points allowed per 100 possessions (107.0) and 19th in opponents' field-goal percentage (46.0).
Coach Mike D'Antoni's uptempo system is partly to blame for the atrocious showing, but injuries have played an even bigger role. Kobe Bryant has played in just six games this season and may be done for the year, while a number of other contributors—including Pau Gasol, Nick Young, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry—have missed at least 10 games apiece due to injury.
A bad situation got even worse at the trade deadline, with the Lakers shipping Blake to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guards MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, neither of whom was a part of Golden State's rotation before the deal. Since they were acquired by the Lakers, Bazemore has logged 30.9 minutes per game and Brooks has averaged 19.8 minutes.
One man's trash may be another man's treasure, but there's no clever phrase to describe an NBA rotation that features the likes of Bazemore, Brooks, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.