"And in this scene, nobody plays a shred of defense. ... Action!"

"And in this scene, nobody plays a shred of defense. ... Action!"

This should go without saying in Minnesota because of recent history, but sometimes a veteran team just falls apart all at once. It might still get great individual performances and have the look of a team that still poses a serious threat, but once the swagger is gone and the losses start to mount, the end is in plain sight.

We went through it here from 2009 to 2010 with the Vikings, then again from 2010 to 2011 with the Twins.

And it very well could be happening to the Lakers right now. There are seemingly too many good players for it to be happening -- even with Steve Nash out for a while and Pau Gasol temporarily hobbled -- but it is going south nonetheless.

It started with a winless preseason; it continued through a listless start that cost Mike Brown his job. And even with a change in coach and system, it is getting worse. Mike D'Antoni is now 4-8 since taking over, his four-year contract (three with a team option) at $12 million total looking more ill-advised by the day considering Phil Jackson, the one man who might have pulled the franchise from the abyss, was interested.

Magic Johnson is ripping the team. D'Antoni is snapping at reporters who question the team's utter lack of commitment to defense (video on that link). They have lost five of their last six games, giving up at least 100 points in all of them. They are 9-13 overall, and if the season ended today they would be in the lottery instead of the playoffs. Maybe it's too early to write them off, but it's also not crazy to think they will continue to be a sub-.500 team all season -- an aging group with the wrong mix that collapsed collectively.

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