There’s a new name for voyeurs of the Los Angeles Lakers: rubberneckers. Because the champions of not-so-long-ago have morphed into car crash TV with one pile-up after another.
The (real) worst team in the West will be 3.45 for the win when they face host the top-ranked Memphis Grizzlies tonight and it’s hard to see this as anything other than an accident waiting to happen.
Just the latest setback from the woeful 3-11 Lakers came with a season-ending injury to Xavier Henry during practice on Monday, and although his 2.2 points per night contribution won’t be missed much, it feels like another symptom of a great franchise gone bad.
With even less depth at shooting guard, it figures to lump even more onto Kobe Bryant – and unlike in days gone past, that is not good news.
The former MVP may be topping the league by averaging 26.7 points but he is shooting an abysmal 38% from the field, a pace that would make him the worst-firing scoring champ since 1948.
He’s also aged 36, coming off a major injury, and playing almost 36 minutes per. But we can’t pin all of the Lakers woes on their lone wolf.
The rest of their roster remains lousy with Carlos Boozer a bad impression of his former self. And while they are generating 102.0 points per game, their defence is dead last with 111.6 given up.
Memphis allowed Bryant to score 28 in a 107-102 Grizzlies victory earlier this month when the Lakers came from 17 down in the fourth to have a shot at levelling.
But the Grizzlies, slated at -10.5 on the handicap at 2.55, come off three days rest since humbling the Clippers and there’s no reason to suspect they won’t make it a LA double.
Best bet: Go over 209.5 points in Lakers-Grizzlies at 2.95