Fresh off a seven-game road trip, the Lakers returned home for the holidays and their yearly high-profile duel against whatever team the media makes out to be a rival.
Oh, wait. There was a game before then? Even Kobe didn't know.
Let's start over. Fresh off a 19-point loss to the paraplegic Milwaukee Bucks, the worst Lakers' performance since Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Celtics, the purple and gold await one of the NBA's hottest teams for what could be a bloody yuletide celebration.
That explains why red is a Christmas color. It also explains the green, since that's the color of Chris Bosh's alien plasma-blood.
After Tuesday night's debacle, Lakers fans already chalked up the Xmas Xtravaganza as a loss, despite the fact Kobe and Co. have won eight of their last ten. Since Bryant's L.A. debut, the Lake Show is 5-6 on Christmas, and most people have as much faith in a victory as (spoiler alert) they do in Santa existing.
If your childhood is now crushed, sorry.
This year, however, could be different. The Bucks game clearly acted as the Admiral Ackbar of all trap games, and the Lakers sounded poised to rebound afterward. Now, the real question is how can they stop a team that has won 12 of its last 13?
Did I just clone Allen Iverson? Because I've got the five Answers.