By Eric Pincus
8:00 AM PST, December 17, 2012
The Lakers seemingly hit rock bottom with a four-game losing streak but pulled out with two consecutive wins on the road to finish Week 7. With help on the way (Pau Gasol and Steve Nash), are the Lakers through the worst of it?
With losing came finger-pointing. Were the Lakers not giving the right amount of effort? Could it just be simply the talent gap because of injuries?
Dwight Howard admitted he still wasn't quite himself after off-season surgery. Andrew Bynum, the center the Lakers gave up to get Howard, has yet to play a single game this season because of knee troubles. Although the team's 11-14 record isn't impressive, where would the Lakers be if they still had Bynum?
To that end, Howard told critics to settle down.
Despite the record, the Lakers were still listed by Bovada as a top-three favorite to win the NBA title. Of course if the team doesn't make the playoffs altogether, the Phoenix Suns will get the Lakers' lottery pick.
Devin Ebanks started to get a look from Coach Mike D'Antoni after barely playing for most of the season, playing his best game in the loss to the Knicks.
Next year's luxury tax is so hefty, the Lakers may be compelled to make moves this season.
Bryant was also the Western Conference's leading vote-getter for the All-Star game, behind just LeBron James league-wide. Howard also got enough early votes to be a probable starter.
Meanwhile rookie Darius Johnson-Odom, on assignment in the D-League, has played well for the D-Fenders.
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