Their shock and disappointment faded significantly by the time the Lakers hit the court for practice Saturday morning in ElSegundo.
They moved into an acceptance phase, embracing their circumstances with a collective shrug and a smile.
There was little sense in rehashing all that had gone haywire during their historic collapse in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. There also was no reason to deny that their loss to the Boston Celtics had put them in serious jeopardy.
"It's behind us now," forward Lamar Odom said when asked about the Lakers' state of mind going into Game 5 tonight at Staples Center. "Face the music. Just focus. ...
"All the games we played before, nothing matters now. We're stuck in the moment now. That's what we have to get back to, playing the next game."
The Lakers trail the best-of-7 series three games to one, after squandering a 24-point lead enroute to a 97-91 loss in Game 4. No team in league history has rallied to win after trailing 3-1 in the Finals, although eight have done so in earlier playoff rounds.
"I think the next day it became a matter of what are we going to do going forward because we've got to make a series out of this," Kobe Bryant said. "We've got to take care of business. So what are we going to do? How am I going to get my teammates in the right frame of mind, make sure they're energetic?
"And that's what it's been all about."
The Lakers said they did their best to stay grounded Friday and Saturday. They also admitted it wasn't the easiest task to accomplish, given the magnitude of their defeat Thursday and the possibility of elimination tonight.
"Sometimes it's difficult to stay right here as opposed to looking back or looking ahead, and at times it takes going through it to know how," said Derek Fisher, who teamed with Bryant to win three titles to start this decade. "But that's what I'm drawing upon is that all that we can control right now is the outcome of tonight's game."
The Lakers watched videotape for the second consecutive day. They also went through a spirited practice. There aren't many dramatic changes to be made at this point, and coach Phil Jackson won't alter his lineup or change his rotation for Game 5.
The Lakers said the only way to prolong the series is to play a more complete game tonight in Game 5 than they did in Game 4 on Thursday. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will be Tuesday and Thursday at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden.
"You can't switch much now," Odom said when asked about possible adjustments. "Just staying confident is important right now. ... We have to execute throughout the game. Whatever is working for us, that's what we have to stick with."
Improving their play in the third quarter would be a start. The Lakers have been outscored in each third quarter of the series, including by 31-15 in Game 4. They even were outscored 25-17 in Game 3, the only game they have won so far in the Finals.
Thanks in large part to Odom and Pau Gasol, the Lakers led the Celtics by 18 points at halftime Thursday. Odom had 15 points and eight rebounds and Gasol had 10 points and six rebounds, sparking the Lakers to a 58-40 lead.
When Odom and Gasol fizzled in the second half, the Lakers went into an offensive funk that helped to produce the biggest collapse in the Finals since the NBA started keeping track of such statistics in 1971.
Odom had four points and two rebounds in the second half, and Gasol had seven points and four rebounds. The Lakers were outscored 57-33 and outrebounded 24-15 in the final two quarters.
"Watching it was painful," Odom said of the video sessions Friday and Saturday. "Boston did a great job of taking things away from us. We have to adjust to things on the run. But we feel a lot better now. We're ready to play. You go down, you want to go down fighting. You don't want to get beat in your home."