May 18th. Lakers 99, Thunder 96. It was game three of the Western Conference semifinals. The win drew the Lakers within 2-1 of Oklahoma City, but then LA lost the final two games and everyone spent the next few months wondering if it was time to break up the core. Then the Lakers acquired Steve Nash in July and traded Andrew Bynum and received Dwight Howard. They struggled through the meaningless preseason winless – Howard wasn’t 100 percent and barely played – with Kobe chirping about torching “that motherfucker” in practice, and Dwight Howard being Dwight Howard.
On opening night, they were stunned by the lottery-bound* Mavericks, 99-91. Dwight Howard missed 11 of 14 free throws. Steve Nash wasn’t crossing people up; he looked confused about his role. In game two, Nash got injured and the Lakers were pounded in Portland by a rookie point guard.
That’s 12 losses in a row. The Avengers, so far, they are not.
* Due to summer posts on the Mavericks, and immense disagreement from some commenters, I will now refer to the Mavericks as “lottery-bound” throughout the season.