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Kobe called out teammates for lack of toughness at Thursday’s practice

Dec 1, 2012, 11:30 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

The Lakers seemed to have an extra pep in their step during Friday’s blowout win over the Nuggets.

Kobe Bryant was measured in his offensive attack, getting his teammates involved before himself, and Dwight Howard was dominant from the moment the ball went up on both ends of the floor.

As it turns out, there may have been a specific reason behind L.A.’s increased motivation and sense of purpose in this one. It may have been provided by Bryant in a rant to his teammates during Thursday’s practice.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

He was in an angry mood at Thursday’s practice, calling out his teammates for not being tough enough in games, The Times has learned.

It wasn’t a long rant, maybe half a minute, but he left practice in a hurry, stalking off the court toward the end of it, irritated that the first team had lost to the reserves several times. He knocked some items off a table at midcourt on his way to the locker room and did not talk to reporters who were let in after his outburst.

Bryant’s message wasn’t light. It contained expletives and hammered at the same theme. The Lakers should not be playing this poorly. Everyone needed to be stronger emotionally and physically.

Bryant is known for his competitive fire above all else, and while the details of who specifically drew his ire that day remain a mystery, it wouldn’t surprise any of us if it was Howard.

Dwight’s always-happy and silly demeanor, even immediately following losses, can’t possibly sit well with Bryant when the losses continue to pile up and the team is struggling just to get back over the .500 mark on the season.

Some may say it shouldn’t come to this, that these guys are professionals and they should be giving maximum effort every single night to earn every dollar of those huge, guaranteed contracts. But it’s not that simple in the NBA, and Bryant made sure to let everyone know that as long as he’s in Los Angeles, everyone else better bring the intensity to as close to his level as possible.

  1. bearsstillsuck - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Wait, are we talking about practice?

  2. jerdogthompson - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    That may work once in a while but even though they are 6-4 their last 10 the records of those teams they beat is something like what 25-50? Hardly what I consider impressive. The problems that existed early in the season still pervade. Are they going to have great games? You better believe it. Is this a championship team, no way in hell.

    • blueintown - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Except that is nowhere close to the combined record of the last six teams they’ve beaten. Regardless, might be a bit early to start determining strength of schedule.

    • beavertonsteve - Dec 1, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      37-39, but hey, who’s counting?

  3. fotydaze - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Anyone ever notice that when Kobe doesn’t take all the shots how well the Laker’s play? It’s been going on for years. When he passes the ball they win, when he doesn’t it’s 04 against the pistons

  4. musician0785 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    and u kno this after 15 games? Hack basketball analysts amuse me

  5. omniusprime - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I’m not surprised that behind Friday’s night’s solid win over the Nuggets was a prior blow up by Kobe on his slacker teammates and coach. Kobe is correct that his mates have been soft during games, allowing Kobe to pick up the burden of winning games by himself rather than as part of a united team effort.

    Nice to see Howard respond with a great game rather than chuckles. Howard does have to learn that during games it’s no time to be smiling unless you’re up by 20 with a minute to go. Dwight is the new shoulder the team has to lean on, notice how when Kobe scores a lot the Lakers lose yet when Howard scores a lot and Kobe doesn’t the team wins. Of course Dumbtoni is the one who has to realize this and coach the team accordingly.

    Go Kobe!!! Go Howard!!! Go Lakers!!!

  6. ravensallday2012 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Exactly y I love Kobe. Leader

  7. timcast12 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Is this guy dumb ?

  8. mashoaf - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Black Mamba is ready to strike!

  9. rj2323 - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Swag

  10. exhelodrvr - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Would Kobe be happy with, and willing to accept, scoring 18-20 points a game if the team is winning? I think the answer to that question will determine how well they do this season.

    • eerock41 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      kobe happy scoring 20 a game. he has stated he wants to be known as the best player ever. scoring 20 a game will not do that for him. all he cares about is MJ.

  11. rayray5227 - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I really hope Kobe’s fire rubs off on Dwight. Can’t stand him being all silly and happy after losses.

    • soflasfinest - Dec 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Keep wishing. Dwight is a freak athlete but I don’t see him “maturing” anytime soon. We’ll see. Everyone should concentrate on his free throw shooting instead IMO.

    • eerock41 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      get use to it. thats who he is, and once kobe is gone thats who the lakers will be. a fun loving team that does not care about winning and losing.

  12. mstiger1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Oh, let’s lament over the poor overpaid and spoiled Lakers. What did you expect from Howard? He has been a cancer for his team for a while. (Same for his new team) Gasol is going through the motions. Kobe is chapped because his legs have too many miles to carry the team late in games like he used to. Meta World idiot will self-destruct at some point in the season ( probably in the playoffs if they make it in. ) They have no point guard with Stevie out although he could help get the overpaid misfits to play better as a team if he could stay healthy when he returns. Face it the Lakers aren’t going anywhere but in the toilet.

  13. geneatals - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Ha. Just after the doc called the celts soft. Find your own swag kb24. Celtic swacker. Smh

  14. iamjimmyjack - Dec 1, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    good for Kobe. Dwight wants ppl to be patient, but forget that man. This team is made up of All-Stars and they should be able to win every game based on talent alone. I understand it will take time and Steve Nash isnt here, but come on seriously they should be good without Nash. Kobe needs to be more of a facilitator like last night though. He should average 16 shots/game for the season. That gives us our best chance to win. Every time he shoots 25+ times/game we lose. I get much more joy out of seeing Dwight score 25+ than Kobe. I like to see the other players get theirs and feel like they are a big part of this team, which they are. Dwight is our future, and he needs to know that. Maybe a few more MVP chants when he’s at the free throw line would help convince him to stay here…

  15. mstiger1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Hey “Genitals”, what is “swacker”? I’m not sure Celts or Lakers should be mentioned in the same sentence with swag?

  16. fruitcovejag - Dec 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Dwight Howard is a complementary player. This has always been what Dwight has needed, to be led. Jameer tried, but they were too close personally. Howard’s ego is big and he has to realize that he has to change to win a championship. Dwight, this is how you lead! It’s not playing “with more energy”. He says this all of the time!!! Should be drinking game! Lol

  17. mojosmagic - Dec 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    That’s why Bryant is Hall of Fame player and the jury is still out on Howard.

  18. geneatals - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Swacker=swagger jacker. Celts have swag. Ask rondo and kg. can’t say much about Paul pierce. Unless drama queen is considered swag. Lol. All good. Banner 18. Lets goooo

  19. dko83 - Dec 2, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Can’t wait to see this team crash and burn in the playoffs. Thunder, Spurs, AND Clips going to eat this group of softies alive.

    • eerock41 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      agreed 100%.

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