Stick a Fork in the Los Angeles Lakers—They’re Done

In L.A., it’s as routine as Botox injections, sig alerts, and the sight of C-list actresses Googling directions to their Brazilian waxing appointments on their Blackberrys and having conversations about “the industry” on their iPhones while waiting for their soy chai mocha lattes at Starbucks.

Yup, pronouncing the Lakers’ championship hopes dead is such an overblown pastime that even TMZ refuses to report it. By April, Kobe & Co. have been written off more than charitable contributions. If giving up on a 50-win team were people, Lakers fans would be China.

Well, call me Chang Hearn. I’m putting this Lakers team in the refrigerator. The door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s blowing past Derek Fisher for a layup.

With seven games left before the playoffs, the Lakers are looking like they’ll be off the air sooner than Lamar Odom’s commercials.

Bryant’s getting bumped off his spots by the likes of Joe Johnson, settling for low-percentage jumpers, and not getting to the line as much as usual. The team’s got more bandaged fingers than the mummy. Phil Jackson is looking less and less willing to get out of his seat, and more like he’s wondering what the weather’s like in Montana. Or wherever LeBron is next season.

So much for Jackson’s hopes for a 5-0 road trip. Not even superhonk John Ireland could put a good face on the Lakers’ 2-3 trip, capped by Wednesday’s 109-92 loss at Atlanta. I don’t think two wins were even an option for Lakers fans casting their text message votes when the trip started.

Two wins? Who are these guys, the Clippers?

They sure looked like them Wednesday, giving up 100 points for the third straight game. And the Hawks looked more like the Lakers than the Lakers did, with Johnson bombing away li...

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