By Eric Pincus
7:08 AM PST, December 10, 2012
The Lakers didn't improve throughout Week 6. If anything, they went the other way.
Instead of injured players returning, the week started with the revelation that Steve Blake needed abdominal surgery, out an additional 6-8 weeks.
The struggle to remain competitive without Steve Nash (leg) was complicated by Dwight Howard's difficulties at the free throw line as opponents started to intentionally foul Howard repeatedly, stalling the Lakers' offense.
Additionally, Pau Gasol sat down to rest his aching knees (tendinitis), leaving the team with a significant lack of depth. The first test was a fourth-quarter collapse (107-105) against the Rockets in Houston, which led to a colorful call from a Houston broadcaster.
The Lakers got a win in New Orleans the following night (103-87). Kobe Bryant scored the 30,000th point of his career, one of five players to ever reach that mark. In the same game, Metta World Peace hit the 12,000 mark.
A second-quarter collapse would doom the Lakers in Oklahoma against the Thunder (114-108).
With the Lakers' troubles, trade speculation ran wild, and while Hornets forward Ryan Anderson would be a natural fit next to Dwight Howard, New Orleans isn't exactly looking to move the talented young forward. Minnesota Timberwolves President David Kahn, meanwhile, denied he had spoken to the Lakers since the summer.
While it's unclear whether Howard and Gasol will mesh on the floor, there's no reason to bench Gasol. If anything, the Lakers have lost games defensively, and seldom have been outscored in the first quarter.
Naturally, it's no surprise that the Lakers have gotten very little out of their point guards, given Nash and Blake were still sidelined. Reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks began to show consistency, especially as a three-point shooter.
The week would end with another loss, this one at home to the Utah Jazz (117-110), dropping the Lakers to 9-12 on the season.
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