The boo was a long, mournful and solitary one with 6:45 left in the first quarter. It symbolized pretty much everything about the Lakers right now.
Darren Collison had just stolen the ball for the Sacramento Kings and dunked easily with a clear path ahead of him Tuesday at Staples Center.
There was another series of boos as the first quarter progressed — or, rather, regressed from the Lakers' angle — in a 106-98 loss to Sacramento.
Maybe fans were irritated that Kobe Bryant sat out another home game. Or they hoped to see more from the young players who looked so galvanized a few games earlier against Golden State. Or they were just venting after a 4 1/2-month headache that accompanied tracking a team with a 14-54 record.
As the Lakers fell quickly behind by 19, it was hard to remember this wasn't against Cleveland, San Antonio or even the Clippers. It was Sacramento, a 25-40 team that recently suspended its best player because of a verbal altercation with Coach George Karl, who, by the way, was rumored for months to be on the way out.
“I thought it was justified, yeah,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said of the fan displeasure. “We just didn't seem ready to play for whatever reason.”
The Lakers' reserves made a decent fourth-quarter showing to help cut the Kings' lead to six, but the Lakers never gained control. Or ever led in the game.
Bryant skipped Tuesday's debacle, staying home while continuing to punt a much larger percentage of games at Staples Center (39%) than away from the arena (4%) since announcing his retirement intentions.
He has tried to save his body for the April 13 season finale and played the previous two games — losses to Cleveland and New York against LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Sacramento simply didn't offer as much.
And yet there were plenty of Lakers mishaps to, um, misremember.
Metta World Peace fumbled out of bounds a fastbreak pass from D'Angelo Russell. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson messed up an inbounds pass after a Kings basket to give Sacramento the ball right back. Marcelo Huertas missed a fastbreak layup attempt after a nice drop-off pass from Lou Williams.
The Kings could relate to the fan unhappiness. They had lost nine of 10 and were booed at home two days earlier.
DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points for Sacramento in his second game back from suspension.
World Peace took Bryant's place in the starting lineup and missed five of six shots. Clarkson missed 11 of 16.
“I feel like the energy's off as a team. Take possessions off, including myself, take plays off and stuff like that. It leads to results like that,” said Russell, who had 14 points and four steals.
Scott spoke beforehand about how long it would take to evaluate the Lakers' youth. (Hint: quite a while.)
“Three to five [years] before you can really, really see what you got … and what they can become,” Scott said. “I don't think in one year you've really got a good sense of what they [can do].”
It's almost time to wrap up this year. No Lakers fan would boo about that.