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Kobe Bryant says he needs more help from teammates

Jan 18, 2013, 11:27 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts during their NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Los Angeles Reuters

Kobe Bryant was worn down Thursday night.

On defense he spent much of the night chasing Dwyane Wade around picks and trying to shut down the league’s 10th leading scorer. On offense he faced constant aggressive ball pressure — Miami’s strategy was to take away the room and time for Kobe and Steve Nash to make good decision as the ball handlers. And it worked, the two combined for 10 of the Lakers 20 turnovers.

Still, Kobe had enough to have 13 fourth quarter points, including the three that tied the game 90-90. Then LeBron happened (five points and two assists to give Miami its final four) and the Heat closed the game on a 9-0 run to win.

After the game, Kobe vented that he couldn’t do it all himself, as reported by ESPNLA.com.

“I need some help offensively to save energy and not have to isolate and do things like that,” Bryant said. “I’m going to need some picks. I’m going to need to catch-and-shoot like I did in the fourth quarter a little bit to make my job a little easier. I think the first three quarters of me just standing around the perimeter, the defense is praying for that. We have to do some things to free me up and get me in open spaces, this way I can be more active on the defensive end of the floor.”

This isn’t just a simple “Kobe doesn’t get help because he doesn’t pass” meme some like to fall back on. It’s more complex than that.

Part of the problem Thursday was the Heat’s pressure defense — they took away passing lanes and good options. Mike D’Antoni had stressed to his team before the game to beat the Heat pressure with ball movement, but under a swarming Heat defense the result was hurried passes with Miami players jumping the passing lanes. That led to 16 first half turnovers and a lot of Lakers just standing around waiting for the guy with the ball to try and make a play.

All that led to Kobe shooting 3-of-16 through the first three quarters.

“We talked about it going into the fourth quarter. I said, ‘Coach D man, goddamn. Come on, man. Come on, man. I can’t be standing out here like this all night long now,'” Bryant said, recalling a conversation with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. “We did a much better job of that. My teammates know. We got to pick each other up. I’m going to go out there and do what I got to do defensively, and then on the offensive end of the floor we’ll pick each other up.”

The problem is this shouldn’t be about Kobe’s shots — he had 25 of them to get his 22 points.

Dwight Howard had just 7 shots. Same with Pau Gasol off the bench. The Miami Heat want to play small but the Lakers could not make them pay by getting Howard good touches down low. (Then when they did Miami would foul — Howard had 13 free throw attempts and hit just 5.) The Lakers didn’t play to their advantage in this game and it cost them.

Kobe is clearly frustrated. The Lakers played better in this game than they did a couple weeks ago, they are improving step-by-step, the problem is they dug themselves such a hole they don’t have time for a gradual improvement.

They need to get better now — and do it with 10 of their next 13 games on the road.

It’s back to the old chicken-and-the-egg with Kobe — he needs more help from his teammates, but he has to make sure those teammates get quality chances, too. Find the mismatch and exploit it. If you play a small team, feed the post. Take advantage of what the defense gives you, don’t just try to impose your will on the other team.

We’ll see if the Lakers can really do all that in time to save their playoff hopes.

  1. zblott - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Has there ever been a superstar who talks more about needing help and who others discuss needing help more than Kobe? Let alone one who has been blessed with the best owner/GM combination ever.

    • zippoo1 - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      Kobe talks “I”. Nash talks “We”.

  2. tonyz6060chevy - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Kobe needs to cry out “We need Phil Jackson to be our Coach!”in frustration during one of these post game interviews

  3. lowtalker - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    again . Kobe is a narcissistic fool . . .he wants everythig his way now . . the shots . . . . . the attention . . . the hadlines . . .. .the teenage girl in Colorado against her will . . . .

    he criticized the GM years ago and said he didn’tknow what he was doing . .oh, wait they won some championships after those moves without Kobe’s advice on personnel moves . . . . . I will be glad when he disappears.

  4. bengzki - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    I still don’t blame D12 for not looking at the pass inside the paint of Kobe from one of the plays during the last nights game against Miami, what do you expect from the “Best”? To pass? Nah! ^_^

  5. 24thesho - Jan 19, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Kobe, pass the f&^%#@ng ball, then!!!!!!

  6. omniusprime - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Kobe is correct that he needs help. First of all he needs coaching help, Dumbtoni hasn’t provided any since he came to destroy the Lakers. Dumbtoni trying to play Kobe at small forward is the dumbest idea ever. Dumbtoni’s total lack of defensive coaching ability is why the Lakers look like garbage on defense. Dumbtoni’s trying to force a big ball team like the Lakers to play small ball also proves how clueless Dumbtoni is.

    Kobe also needs help at point guard, especially on defense. Ancient Nash is a liability to the Laker’s defense because he never bothers to play defense, never did his whole career and now he’s too old and slow to ever play good defense. Kobe should not have been guarding Wade the whole night, that is what a young point guard should be doing.

    If the Lakers want to win games they need to fire Dumbtoni and trade away Ancient Nash for a great young point guard, like Kyrie Irving. That is the only way the Lakers can play and win as a team. The other thing the Lakers need is for Daddy Jerry Buss to wake up and fire his worthless spoiled brat, Jerky Boy Jimmy. Give the reins of the team to Phil and Jeanie as a wedding present, I know they would turn the Lakers around back into champions.

    Go Kobe!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Ancient Nash!!! Fire the little idiot buss boy!!! We Want Phil and Jeanie!!!

    • mazblast - Jan 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Trade Nash for Kyrie Irving. Huh?

      Where do you Laker fans get these fantasies? Are you like Yankee fans, thinking every other team is your willing farm team?

      If I’m the GM of another team and the Lakers call, I tell them, “Call me when you want to be reasonable, or you can go simmer in your own juices.”

  7. gopherz - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    kobe is a OVER the hill has been ;

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