The Los Angeles Lakers had a miserable Christmas and its star player is taking much of the blame.
The Lakers have suffered three consecutive blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. All had Kobe Bryant’s finger prints on them. He demanded the ball from the start and kept asking for it even after he missed 13 consecutive shots and turned the ball over five times. After calling out his teammates for a perceived lack of focus against Miami, saying the games mean more to opponents than they do to the Lakers, he put the losing streak on himself.
“I couldn’t put the ball in the basket and it snowballed from there,” Bryant said. “I’ve just got to put the ball in the damn hole. I need to. It’s my responsibility. It’s my job, and I got to do it.”
As for removing the anger he appears to be playing with?
“It’s an effort,” Bryant said. “I’ll try.”
While getting blown out by Miami on Christmas Day might have been more embarrassing, the last shellacking at the hands of the Spurs was the most disheartening. The Spurs, with their new up-tempo approach, have the NBA’s best record at 27-4 but a victory here would have quickly re-established the Lakers — despite their indifferent play and middling schedule — as the prohibitive favourite to come out of the West. Now, the Lakers sit six games behind the Spurs, and with the soft part of the schedule now over, it will be a long uphill climb to catch them. Bryant says the team is disturbed as result.
“We’re all just a little moody, that’s all,” Bryant said. “Fish picked up a technical and he’s the basketball equivalent of Barack Obama. Everybody’s a little moody right now.”