COMMENTARY | Earlier in the 2012-13 NBA season Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni spoke of a "gut check" moment as being a potential catalyst for turning things around for the struggling team.
But after stumbling to a 17-25 record through half the season, that moment never came, and things keep getting worse for the walking reality show. That all leads to the question:
Have the Lakers finally hit rock bottom?
The 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday wasn't on its own merit a reason to think this way, but the sequence of events surrounding the game and how they lost both warrant further exploration.
There's a lot to be learned about the state of a team from the "hustle stats", and as one could imagine, the box score wasn't kind in that respect to Los Angeles. The Lakers gave up 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in an incredible 27 second chance points.
They also gave up a whopping 60 points in the paint. That's not a typo.
Beyond the box score, they consistently lost 50-50 balls and looked lackadaisical on both ends of the floor. It was body language and effort that viewers would expect from a 17-25 team. Sadly, that's been the story with these Lakers all season long.
The infamous shootaround meeting
Reports from Memphis on the day of the game were that the Lakers had a team meeting that included heated exchanges between players. Most notably, Kobe Bryant reportedly called out Dwight Howard, and Howard didn't bite back.
Though the exchange didn't result in any long-lasting bad blood, it's indicative of the dismal state of the team. D'Antoni summed it up best.
"You never want those kinds of meetings because it means we're in trouble a little bit. That doesn't happen when you're 40-1," he said. "It needed to be said, it needed to happen, and now it's up to us to make positive stuff out of it."
Unfortunately, things got even worse afterward.
Dwight Howard injury
The lone silver lining in all of this sea of horror around Hollywood used to be the fact that Dwight Howard would probably stick around after the season and be the Lakers' face of the franchise in the post-Kobe era.
That's now out the window as he's clearly not happy --and he's hurt, maybe more seriously than anyone's let on.
He reinjured his troubled right shoulder in the second quarter. That means that his trade value is declining with every setback. He's damaged goods now with his ailing back still recovering from surgery less than a year ago, and that doesn't bode well for the Lakers to get any sort of value for a player who's free to talk away for nothing this summer.
Is this really rock bottom for L.A.? Kobe Bryant was asked whether he thought it was the worst season he's been through in his career.
"Certainly getting there," said Bryant. "That Rudy T. one was a pretty hard one."
At this point, it's time to sit and watch the sinking ship and see what changes come of this. Things won't get any easier for the Lakers as they return home to face the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in their next two games.
It's hard to imagine things getting worse.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as Southern California-based sports journalist. In addition to being an award-winning Yahoo! Contributor, he writes regularly for SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.
Catch him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets