LeBron James

Heat forward LeBron James looks for a teammate before passing in mid-air for an assist during Miami's game with the Lakers at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / December 25, 2013)

The Lakers slumped through a winless Week 9, including losses to the struggling Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers.

Pau Gasol returned from a respiratory infection to play against the Phoenix Suns, but the Lakers were bombarded by outside shooting, falling 117-90.

After the game, Coach Mike D'Antoni suggested that Lakers fans root for another team if they're discouraged by the team's inconsistency, given the voluminous injuries. He apologized for his comments the next day, and later joked that he got 'a bunch of coal' for Christmas.

The Lakers finally got a point guard back when Jordan Farmar returned from a hamstring injury to face the Miami Heat at Staples Center on Christmas.

Before the Christmas Day game, Kobe Bryant spoke about his knee injury, saying he'll be back with more focus than ever.

LeBron James said he doesn't doubt that Bryant can come back from anything.

The Lakers played competitively but ultimately fell to the Heat, 101-95. Farmar played but was clearly rusty after sitting for more than three weeks.

Gasol's respiratory infection flared up again, keeping him out of the next two games, including the Lakers' visit to Utah.

Without Gasol, the Lakers fell to the Jazz, 105-103, and dropped to 12th place in the Western Conference.

Chris Kaman turned his ankle against the Jazz but was available on Sunday against the 76ers -- but again, no Gasol.

The Sixers pulled away late to notch their second road win of the season, 111-104 -- the Lakers' fifth loss in a row.

Xavier Henry was lost in the first quarter with a strained right knee. He's scheduled to have an MRI scan on Monday.

Rookie Ryan Kelly has earned a role in the Lakers' rotation, which bodes well for the Duke forward as the Lakers' near the early January cut-down date.

Despite his injuries, Bryant leads the All-Star voting in the backcourt.

With Bryant out for the Lakers' visit to the Houston Rockets, the game was pulled from the ESPN broadcast.

The Cleveland Cavaliers suspended former Lakers center Andrew Bynum for "detrimental" conduct. The Cavaliers may look to trade him or even cut his partially guaranteed contract.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.