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Kobe Bryant; “I’ll kick everybody’s ass in this locker room” to turn team around

Dec 3, 2012, 12:08 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant is a little frustrated.

Okay, a lot frustrated. He’s pissed off.

And he should be after the Lakers Swiss-cheese defense was picked apart by the struggling Magic as they beat the Lakers Sunday night. The Lakers problems are not simple — it’s not just Pau Gasol not being comfortable, it’s not just Dwight Howard’s free throws, it’s not just Steve Nash being injured, it’s not just the bench, it’s not just the defense. It’s all of it together.

Kobe’s answer to any challenge is to work harder. That has been the modus operandi of his career and it has worked pretty well. And that is at the core of his rant after the Lakers ugly loss Sunday night, via Joe McDonald at Fox Sports West.

“I’ll kick everybody’s ass in this locker room if it doesn’t happen,” Bryant said after a 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. Yes, the 6-10 Orlando Magic. “It’s the attitude you have to have. Metta (World Peace) is the same way. Dwight (Howard) has it in him as well. Even though he smiles a lot, he cares a lot about this. Come hell or high water, this has to get done.”

Howard cares, but he still seems unsure of himself in this setting with this pressure. Insecurity was never Kobe’s problem. Howard needs to pick up that lesson from Kobe.

Bryant’s rant eventually moved on to Gasol and his struggles, with Gasol not feeling comfortable in Mike D’Antoni’s offense and not getting touches in the post. Kobe said he had to put on his “big boy pants.”

“Pau has to make some adjustments, obviously, to his game. He might not be posting up as much as he likes, but he just has to adjust.

“The reality is, I’ve adjusted. I’ve never run this many screen-and-rolls in my entire life. But I’ve worked on it. I’ve worked on handling the ball; worked on coming off screens and making plays. I’m used to being in the post much, much more. You have to adjust; you have to master what it is we’re trying to do here. Pau’s talented enough and good enough to be able to do that.”

Pau is talented enough, but he also was benched the final six minutes of the game (his second fourth-quarter benching under D’Antoni). Which is just going to fuel trade speculation. But the Lakers aren’t moving on that front yet, wanting to see if Gasol adjusts and how things look when Steve Nash returns (which is more than a week away).

Kobe wants that sixth ring. Badly. And with this roster he thinks he has a shot at it. His leadership style is tough love, but with the Lakers struggling expect a lot more tough and a lot less love in the short term.

  1. skids003 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Yeah, what a tough guy. The reality is they can’t win with the style he plays, jacking it up from all over the place, so it must be someone elses fault. Couldn’t be his. What an ego.

    • david0303 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      they can’t win with the style he plays yet he has 5 championships. makes sense to me

      • skinsfanwill - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:04 PM

        The championships they won was when someone else stepped up and Kobe decided to share the wealth…ala Shaq and Pau Gasol vs. Boston. when he goes into “jack” they always lose….ala Kobe vs OKC in the playoffs last year. It’s a team game. Pride is a mufu, but ego and pride is a dumb jacking loser.

      • aboogy123456 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        Skins you don’t know what you are talking about. The Championship was just one series but without kobe they would obviously not have done that well. Shaq won the finals mvp in 2002 but kobe was the one that got them there that year. The nets were just so small that of course the gameplan was go to shaq.

        People like you make me angry, if you watched the OKC series last year you would know that kobe had to score or they were not in it. He was actually the only guy playing well, and he was playing as a team player. You also blame kobe for having help but then say it’s a team game. clown..

      • zblott - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:51 PM

        Whenever they win, it’s because their team eFG% is high (which is because of their bigs), their team Offensive Rebounding % is absurdly high (their bigs), and their defensive eFG% is good (interior D = bigs).

        Read the complete breakdown after the 2010 Finals:

    • hehateme2 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      should we just call them the Fakers?

    • apz02 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      skids003 – Have you seen any Laker games this season? Other than blindly hating on the Lakers, I don’t think you actually watch any games.

      Kobe has been sharing the ball a lot this season, and when he shoots he has been very efficient.

      In the Orlando game, he didnt shoot for 3 quarters when everyone else just stood around and watched a weak Orlando team come back and take control of the game.

      What was he supposed to do? stand back and watch like the rest of the lazy A-holes? (aka D12 and Gasol?)

    • stoutfiles - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      “Come hell or high water, this has to get done.”
      “Kobe, have you considered trying to get an assist or two?”
      “What’s an assist?”

  2. gatordontplay - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Ass ..turning around.. locker room? Is this a Sandusky story?

  3. hartdaddy - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Classic Kobe…”it’s everybody else fault, I’m doing what I need to do…it’s ALL on the other guys”.

  4. pricejustin24 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    He “thinks” he has a shot at it?? Get a life Helin

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Ah, the weekly “Clearly doesn’t know that Kurt Helin is a Lakers fan” comment….

      • badintent - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

        slow sports day in LA, again. Oh, wait, THE GALAXY WON ! SOCCER RULES !

      • bozosforall - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:30 PM

        LA…TWO titles this year. Boston…ZERO.

  5. lemfaxx - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Pau – varejao hmmmnn

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      Varejao could be good for the Lakers but why would Cleveland want Pau Gasol? For years they’ve had Varejao on the trading block and what they’ve always demanded in return is young talent or draft picks–of which the Lakers have neither. This would have to be a three team trade.. perhaps with Houston who already traded for Pau Gasol once.

  6. lemfaxx - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Pau – varejao hmmmnn

  7. glink123 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Laugh if you want, but Carlos Boozer is perfect for D’Antoni’s system.

    • scalfor3 - Dec 4, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      As a Celtics fan, I am laughing all I goddamn want. Make it happen!

  8. timb12 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Lol no one wants Carlos Boozer!!!

    • chitownmatt - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      It sounds like a great trade to me…

  9. staff2cj - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Love seeing drama with the Flakes!!!

  10. paulhargis53 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Relax lakerluver, he said KICK, not lick….

    • badintent - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Sasha wants a rematch , no more Kobe sucker punch this time in practice

      I’m Mike Brown and I approved this message and all the $$$ the Lakers pay me for the next 18 months, thanks.

  11. dysraw1 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    well Kobe should start by hurting who ever thought of crazy Dick to coach the team he really has no clue about D. or bigs but don’t take my word. without Nash hes really a wash.

  12. gostlcards5 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    You know, I have never been a big fan of Kobe, the person, and while he is a great player, I also have a little stigma about liking Kobe, the player, because of the dismantling of the Pacers that Shaq and Kobe did in the 2000 Finals. I did start to enjoy him as both a bit more during this year’s Olympics.

    That being said, I want to hear this out of Kobe. This team has a bunch of new players, a new coach, a new system, and in my eyes, he’s telling it like it is. Get to work, figure it out. Kudos, Kobe.

  13. fnc111 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I wanna get sucked by Vanessa Bryant. Hottie.

    • badintent - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      you wanna get tied up, rubbed, licked and done by Vanessa like all of us. Please take a number and wait. Number 169 please, … sit down Metta. you have no number.!

  14. sonnycd - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Must be tough on Kobe kicking his own arse.

  15. magicbucs - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    @paul… Haha that’s a great one. Lakerluvr is AWAL til they win again….

    Who would want to trade for Gasol? especially when you know all the GMs and owners are slapping their knees seeing this disaster unfold. Kupchek isn’t looking like a genius right now is he. Looks like Rob Hennigan(magic GM)is looking like a winner.

    Oh yeah remember Kobe is a rapist too. He’s a great player but a rapist.

  16. dannymac17 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Have yet to see LakerLuver spew his garbage.

  17. kinggw - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Chris Childs begs to differ.

  18. aboogy123456 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Kobe is so misunderstood and under appreciated. People need to stop trashing him and realize that this is a sign of a good leader, and he’s does motivate his players well. Do you see kevin durant ever doing this and yelling at Westbrook to get him more involved? No, but every one praises durant.

    The lakers can feel confident bringing in players with character issues, because Kobe is a true leader that will make them fall in line or kick their ass as he says.

  19. somekat - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Don’t see who gives up much for Pau at this point. The only way he gets a big return is if someone is willing to build their offense around him, and who would be? He’s a solid player, but only if the offense is run through him, and he’s clearly on the down slide of his career. At this point, they should just be happy if someone is willing to take his salary off their hands.

    The Lakers have no leverage in a trade. They HAVE to move guys if this team can’t win a title. The luxury tax hit will be ridiculous after this year, and that is obviously with no additions.

    • sdlakerfan - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      somekat – agree completely. They have to move Pau during or after this yr. The luxury tax hit will be riduculous. He’s not worth half what he’s making (19 mil+). He’s so slow-footed he will never fit in with Dantoni’s offense. He needs to be the main post player and won’t be on this team. He’s not great on the perimeter – his shot is very inconsistent. His skills have faded the last 3 yrs. And he makes the most bone-headed frustrating turnovers on this turnover heavy team. Was a bummer how the Indiana guy blew by him for the winning bucket the other night. He looks disillusioned, like his confidence is shot, and Dantoni’s 4th qtr benchings are a sign that he obviously doesn’t have any faith in him. He could do much better on another team but who’s going to overpay that much and want to give up anything but similarly bad contracts?

      Not sure what’s up with Dantoni either – let’s take a slow-footed old team and play up tempo so we maximize our deficiencies. Bickerstaff had them playing the best bball of the season.

  20. eventhorizon04 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Whenever stars join up, players have to adjust.

    Allen and KG joining Paul Pierce in Boston had the smoothest transition, but even then, their games changed. KG became more of a defensive specialist (while in Minnesota he had been the focal point on offense and defense), while Allen became less of a ball-handler and more of a spot-up shooter.

    With Bosh and LeBron joining Wade in Miami, there were problems early because in a lot of ways, their games overlapped. Last year, Miami’s offense began clicking once LeBron started facilitating in the low-post more (rather than the wing), Wade began working off the ball (rather than being the dominant ball-handler he had been his whole career), and Bosh switched positions to Center and expanded the range of his jumper (allowing him to space the floor and take on slower Centers off the dribble).

    It’s still early for the Lakers, but by choosing D’Antoni, the Lakers choose a system that emphasized pick-and-rolls and floor spacing. Nash fits that system. As Kobe said, with Nash out, Kobe has run more pick-and-rolls and worked less in the post so far, but when Nash comes back, he’ll be asked to play more off-the-ball as a cutter and spot-up shooter. Dwight’s offensive game pretty much demands he set up shop in the low-post. That leaves Pau Gasol with the task of spacing the floor. He can hit some jumpers, but he’s not a Dirk Nowitzki-esque jump shooter, and is much better in the low-post. And that’s the problem – Gasol has to abandon his most effective area (the low-post) to make the system work, and he’s struggling.

  21. borderline1988 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    It’s somewhat unfair for Kobe to talk about himself adjusting and challenging Gasol to do the same.

    When Kobe ‘adjusted his game’ with all the pick and rolls, it meant that he got to have the ball in his hands even more than before. Gasol gets very few touches for his talent level as it is, and never in the place he likes it.

    I’d like to see Kobe ‘adjust’ to barely ever having the ball in his hands, and only then I’d allow him to make that statement without rolling my eyes.
    The day Kobe makes that adjustment is the day he retires.

  22. tonyz6060chevy - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    yup,D’antoni has already showed his contempt for Casol.D’antoni has no idea how to use Gasol or Howard,hence hiring him was a big waste of time! In the Triangle, Pau ,Kobe and Howrad could have torn it up on the inside, while somebody like Nash would be throwing down bombs from the outside. It don’t bother me I’ve been watching more L.A. Clippers games this year than Laker games ,since I can’t get them on Dish T.V. I learn about the Lakers problems second hand ,I bet Pau wishes he was a Houston Rocket every time he steps on to the court, and sees D’antoni sitting at the head of the Lakers bench!!

  23. exhelo1 - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    To win a title, Kobe needs to be willing to take a second seat to others on the team – at least until defenses adjust – and give others on the team time to get used to that. He will do that at times, but he invariably reverts to “eating first.” If he can’t make that change, this team won’t win.

  24. tonyz6060chevy - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Jerry Buss is getting into the “Al Davis” stage of his life,it’s time he let’s Basketball people run his team . He and his son Jimmy are going to ruin this team. For years he had Chick Hearn and Jerry West’s advice to fall back on, now he pretty much banished Phil Jackson and Daughter Jeannie. The future of the Lakers is DOOMED,I don’t see Dwight Howard coming back to this schlock of a team!

  25. loungefly74 - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    well…the final excuse will be used up if they play like crap during Nash’s return. gotta hope they get better with him in the line-up. if not…i hate saying it, and i like the guy…but trade pau. and someone WILL want pau, they will not get equal value back (no one ever does)…but someone will make moves to acquire the spanierd.

    of course…i could easily be jumping the gun and should wisely wait to see what they are like during the All-Star break…

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