Regular readers of these pages often refer to the NBA predictions contained herein as "bold" and "fearless," though after a few weeks of hindsight they are often reconstituted as "brainless" and "incomprehensible."

But never mind all that. The intern responsible for the preseason forecast has been replaced (sorry, Mom), and we now have a better understanding of when this came off the rails: It was right around the time Dwight Howard decided he would flaunt the nimbleness of a vending machine, and everything we knew about the 2012-13 season pretty much resembled an Angelino mudslide after that.

Undaunted, we offer a few things to expect from the second half of the Is-Miami-On-Yet? season:

• An L.A. Reboot. The last few weeks have been enough to convince everyone that this cannot be fixed without therapy, and it’s even worse when you consider that Metta World Peace seems like their most stable personality at this point. Whether it’s his back or shoulder or head, Howard simply cannot move like he used to, he seems unwilling to buy into the ol’ ball-finds-energy dogma authored by coach Mike D’Antoni, and he even managed to get Steve Nash to snarl at him in Miami last week.

At 25-29 and 3.5 games out of eighth place, this season is careening out of control, and not even Kobe Bryant seems capable of stopping it. Yes, they’ve gone 8-4 lately, and Kobe himself could make up the gap — especially since it’s only Portland and either Houston or Utah that needs to be caught and passed.
But the Clippers game Thursday was a fool-me-twice moment, and enough to reinforce the notion that this team is in flames. With Mitch Kupchak adamant about staying the course, it leaves them with one outcome even if they crack the top eight: a fire sale, and then a rebuild. Howard, who has the attention span of a moth, will want out — they’re kidding themselves if they think he wants to subject himself to more years of the Kobe-Nash evil eye. Pau Gasol wants to get as far away from D’Antoni as possible. And Nash is going to be 40 this time next year, after playing most of this season on one leg, so that position will need to be re-examined and refortified.