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Kobe is frustrated, not sure teammates feel the same way

Feb 15, 2013, 9:59 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant AP

Kobe Bryant’s way of dealing with adversity is simply to work harder. Get up more shots, work on more moves, get better. If you are not up for a challenge improve until you are.

The Lakers were not ready for the challenge of the Clippers Thursday night. For the Lakers (and their fans) it was a stark reminder of where their team is in comparison to a potential contender, and it’s not good.

Kobe was frustrated after the game, he told the media as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. What may have frustrated him more was his teammates reaction.

“Once things got difficult, we need to step up and meet that challenge. I’m not very happy right now, and hopefully my teammates feel the same way.”

The problem is, Bryant seemed to know before those words even left his mouth that his teammates’ minds weren’t in the same head space as his, as he tries desperately to turn this season around.

“After we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can’t be laughing and joking around with a team that just kicked your ass, that’s for sure,” Bryant said.

Kobe wasn’t naming names, but you get the feeling this was about Dwight Howard. For Howard, much like a younger LeBron James in Cleveland, the game had to be fun for him or he doesn’t play with the same energy or passion. And just watching Howard the last few weeks, he clearly is not having a lot of fun on the court.

So Kobe was asked about his relationship with Howard. Kobe had really bonded a lot with Andrew Bynum last All-Star Game, so McMenamin asked if Kobe thought is relationship with Howard could be strengthened this same way.

“I don’t know how much more we need to strengthen it really,” Bryant said of his relationship with Dwight Howard. “I think it’s where it should be. The communication that I have with him is about execution and about what he needs to do on the court. That’s where it’s going to stay.”

Okay then.

So, still think the Lakers are going to make the playoffs this season?

  1. skinsfanwill - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Basically, “To hell with bonding and being friends. I need Dwight to ball!!!”

  2. sdemp - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    The Lakers need to blow up whatever it is they call this team and the sooner the better.

    Howard is garbage, Pau is soft, Nash is old, and the supporting cast is useless other than Jamison & Clark.

  3. skinsfanwill - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Just once I would like to hear Kobe take some responsibility for a loss. I wanna hear,
    - ” I jacked up way too many shot tonight.”
    -”The 5 first-half turnovers I had put our team behind early, and we couldn’t catch up.”
    - If I could have played a little better defense maybe I could have prevented a few of those buckets.”
    - “I didn’t shoot too much tonight, I missed too much.I should have looked for my teammates a little more.”
    - “It’s hard to win from a team perspective when I’m shooting 40% and taking 43 shots in a game. My bad, I’ll look for my teammates a little more.”

    TIME TO STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE KOBE AND TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY. NO MATTER HOW GREAT YOU ARE IT’S A TEAM GAME.
    STOP THROWING EVERYONE UNDER THE BUS AND SHOULDER THE RESPONSIBILITY….FOR ONCE.

    • mckaymatt - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      I agree, Kobe isn’t the problem with the team (we all know there are plenty) but he needs to realize that he is part of the team and he isn’t playing perfect. He has played really well this year but there have been games where he has had big issues (as you stated above).

      He seems to think that when they win, it’s because of his greatness, when they lose it’s because of other players weaknesses. Now whether he truely thinks like that is subjective but based on his comments after games it seems to look that way.

      • fm31970 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        “He seems to think that when they win, it’s because of his greatness, when they lose it’s because of other players weaknesses. ”

        That’s pretty much how it is, isn’t it? He gave up scoring the other night, didn’t take a shot until the 3rd quarter, and they won. That shows me he is willing and able to do what is needed to get a TEAM win, but should he and can he be expected to do that every game? I guess if he wants to truly be great, he has to sacrifice personal things for the good of the team, but what if the rest of the team isn’t giving the same effort? How many times can you keep giving it your all if the other four guys on the court aren’t giving their all?

        Howard, even if his back is fully healthy, simply isn’t a franchise player, and certainly isn’t cut out for the pressure of playing in L.A., and he’s never been a consistently high effort player. Granted, very few are cut from the same mold as Jordan and Kobe, but Howard just doesn’t have “it”.

    • leahcima1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      skinsfanwill you are absolutely spot on. This guy has the entire sports world hypnotized that it is ALWAYS the fault of someone else and that he is the reason for all that was good that happened to that franchise. You say it perfectly.

    • swill881 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Why would he say that after leading the team in assists for the game and only putting up 13 shots?

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      I’m not sure what quote you were reading, but the one I read didn’t take or place blame. It just said he was unhappy with the way the team played, and he hoped his teammates were too.

      By the way, if you really believe that Kobe doesn’t take blame for losses, you must not read or listen to the post-game interviews with him very often.

      • opshuns - Feb 15, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        I watched the interview and nowhere did I believe Kobe threw anyone under the Zamboni…

    • chucklewis13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      I agree whole heartdely with your strong assessment. Also, what Kobe needs to do is stop whinning like a little girl all the time. Granted the team is in shambles but every other night, all you heard is Kobe whinning like a little girl. He should know that no one else on that team has the drive to be great like he does and he cannot expect those guys to man up every night and be great. If he wants to whine some more, I suggest that he start with the GM who put this bunch of misfits together.

    • badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      “We have met the enemy, we have seen the enemy, and it is us ”
      Written on toliet wall in Lakers locker room.

  4. stebutt - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    No, the Lakers implosion isn’t funny. Not at all. Wonder will Phoenix win the draft lottery with the Lakers pick?

  5. ckinthekc99 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Sorry skins fan, but Kobe is the ONLY one who’s played good all year! He is serious about winning, Dwight isn’t, pretty simple! I’ll also say that Steve Nash has caught no criticism whatsoever this year, which is baffling considering the expectations he brought in. I’ve heard NOONE criticize him all year. Also, where is the leadership from Nash? I thought he was a leader? Someone besides Kobe needs to open their mouth here. Dwight is the huge disappointment, no arguing that, even if u hate Kobe.

    • somekat - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      I was all over Nash since before the season even started. I dont’ have any personal problem with Nash, seems like a good enough guy. But he is a train wreck on defense. If your PG cant’ guard the other teams PG, every other position on your roster has to be head and shoulders above the other team in order to win. Period. You can mask your defense, help, run certain rotations, etc, to help any position on the floor, except PG. If the opponents PG can get to the rim at will, you have no shot to stop the other team on a regular basis

      This was the case with Nash when he was in his prime. I don’t see why people woudl think that would change now that he is old and decrepid

      • zerole00 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        The Lakers took on Nash knowing he’d be a defensive liability, they were just hoping that with Howard they’d have enough to offset it. They don’t at the moment.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Nash is also turning the ball over at an alarming rate and in some of the stupidest ways possible, as well.

      • opshuns - Feb 15, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        To me Blake is their best point guard. Lately Nash has slowed with age in his HOF career…

  6. namaths5thofwhiskey - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Kobe, your team sucks. When you take 30 million dollars of your teams salary alone, things like that happen. 5 Rings 30 Mill baby!

  7. fanofevilempire - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    I think that Howard has to make a change, he has to grow up, even if he doesn’t play in LA.
    If you remember Kobe had a lot of growing up to do himself once upon a time.
    I don’t know what will happen with the Lakers but one thing I know for sure is that Kobe plays hard, every game, every possession. He doesn’t have to apologize for anything he has been a champion
    and he contributed to every one of those championships.

    • kinggw - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      What are you talking about? What does Howard need to change? He’s averaging 16/12/2 while having a torn labrum and still not completely healed from back surgery. Its not Howard’s fault the Lakers can’t keep up with any team that’s remotely athletic.

      I cannot stand this narrative coming from Lakers fans that Howard is the reason for their problems and that he’s not serious about winning. In recent years the Lakers have been successful because they have tons more talent than their opposition. They have never won because they were a great team or because of Kobe’s leadership or will to win. The Lakers are simply at the end of their run and their fans are going to have to accept it. We saw the first signs of this two years ago when the Mavericks dominated the Lakers in the playoffs. We saw evidence of it last year, when they were lucky to escape Denver and were summarily handled by the Thunder. They were done then, but for some reason Lakers fans let the media tell them that the addition of Howard and a 38 year old point guard who likes to dominate the ball and doesnt defend would change their fortunes. Objective people know that as good as Howard is defensively, he wasnt on par with Bynum offensively. In other words Howard wasn’t a major upgrade from Bynum, it was a push. In essence the Lakers came into the season with the same team they’ve had for the past few seasons and Steve Nash. I hate to break it to you, but Howard isnt the problem. If you want to blame anybody, blame Kupchak. He could’ve gotten Kyle Lowry and instead he went for the pricier big name in Nash. Amazing how nobody ever seems to acknowledge his role in this mess.

      • mogogo1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Love this post. Well said. Regarding Kubchak, it’s fair to ponder how much has been him and how much has been directives coming from Buss the Younger. Because there’s been a marked change in how the organization has handled things since Jerry Buss stepped aside. They used to be smart and patient, and their recent moves have been neither. I have a hard time believing that Kupchak, who actually played the game, would have assembled this bunch with so little consideration of playing style. I’m going to put that all on the ownership.

        They ditched Mike Brown after like 4 games and I could actually see that given he liked the calling the play every time down the floor and that was awfully restrictive if you have Nash running the show. But then they go and hire D’Antoni who fit in with nobody’s skillset on the roster other than Nash–maybe not even Nash now that he is 38. One of their main strengths was having Howard and Gasol and they couldn’t even figure out how to get them onto the floor at the same time. And the thing that gets totally overlooked is that even if they were winning right now, D’Antoni’s style with this roster was going to run into huge problems come playoff time when the game slows down and defense steps up. The thinking seems to have begun and ended at “Hey, D’Antoni and Nash worked together well before, that’ll work for us now.”

  8. dougmanoh - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Who cares. It’s frustrating as a Clippers fan who finally has a contending team to keep hearing about the Lamers woes. This column should really be about the Clippers kicking the Lamers butt; not about the Lamers.

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      When (if) your team actually wins something, then you can complain. The Lakers have appeared in half of all the championship series in the league’s history. The Clippers have never appeared in one. That’s a pretty big gap and why a legendary franchise like the Lakers get a lot of attention, whether they’re winning or not.

  9. shockexchange - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Horry Jr is living off the “mystique” of having won 5 rings. He’s nothing more than a glorified role player. If he’s the 2nd coming of Jordan then how come L.A. is getting slapped on the regular?

  10. ckinthekc99 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Shock exchange, I thought u crawled under a rock, or hoped I should say! You need to do some soul searching already! You make Skip Bayless seem objective, reasonable & intelligent

    • shockexchange - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      ckinthekc99 After another vicious attack on his person, the Shock Exchange stands corrected. Horry Jr doesn’t need “exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L” in order to win a chip. Thanks for clearing that up.

      • zerole00 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Do you even realize how big a tool you come off as by referring to yourself in the third person on the internet? Seriously.

  11. rmfields - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    This Lakers team has some of the worst team chemistry I’ve ever seen in any sport.

  12. mazblast - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    In his entire life, has KoMe ever said, “I shot the ball too much and free-lanced on defense too much. That’s why we lost.”? Has KoMe ever taken the blame for ANYTHING?

    Not that this mess is all his fault. Short Buss clearly is clueless, Kupchak is a glorified errand boy, Brown was a mistake and D’Antoni a disaster, Howard is overrated and unwell, Nash is creaking to a halt, Gasol is hurt, Artest fading, and the rest of the roster nothing but filler. But, KoMe is the face of the franchise, makes a ridiculous salary, and takes all the credit when the team wins, so he has to look in the mirror for reasons other than self-admiration.

  13. deavn - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    This is why I’m against that whole Big 3 trend. You can’t have superstars on one team playing together. You need role players who do one thing really well. Like the Celtics. That’s what wins championships. Not forming a super team.

    • bigbamboom1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I agree with this. You need 2 bona-fide stars and quality roll players. That is also the Piston, Chicago and San Antonio model. And it works.

    • paleihe - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Right, just like the Celtics.

      If you could clarify, what were the Celtics called when they formed and won the championship in 07-08?

      Didn’t the “whole Big 3 trend” get the Heat to the finals two years in a row…where they won one of them?

      Seems like the trend is pretty solid.

      • eventhorizon04 - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Successful Big 3′s…..

        Bird-McHale-Parrish
        Magic-Worthy-Kareem
        Jordan-Pippen-Rodman
        Parker-Ginobli-Duncan
        Pierce-Garnett-Allen
        Wade-LeBron-Bosh

        Etc.

        The Lakers tried to build a “Big-4″ of Kobe, Nash, Gasol, and Howard.
        The issues seem to be…
        Fit – Hard to share touches between 4 stars, with Nash struggling to find his place without the ball, Howard openly complaining about a lack of shots, and Gasol openly complaining about a lack of opportunities in his favorite spots.

        Coaching – The Lakers went with a panic-firing of Mike Brown, which meant all the offseason work put into learning his systems on offense and defense went to waste, and they also went with the questionable hiring of a coach whose system (up-tempo, reliant on floor-spacers) doesn’t fit the roster (built to dominate in the half-court, particularly in the low-post),

        Age – None of those successful Big 3′s initially formed with players who were already age 38, 34, 32.

        Injury – Few of those Big-3′s I described could have withstood issues like one player (Nash) missing 1/2 of the season, another (Gasol) missing 1/3 of the season, and a third player (Howard) playing limited after back surgery.

        Horrible bench – One downside to a “Big-4″ instead of a “Big-3″ is that the fourth star limits how much money goes towards building a bench. And a team with age and injury issues needs a good bench.

      • kavika6 - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:06 AM

        I agree, although I wouldn’t call Rodman a superstar.

  14. bigbamboom1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    One of the biggest problems with the Lakers IMO is the complete lack of production they are getting from Ron Metta World Peace Artest. And it cascades backwards to everyone else from there. Metta completely disappeared in every game I saw him play this year. So Kobe doesn’ really have a viable second scoring option from a must have scorers position. I think the Lakers should have taken a flyer and brought Allen Iverson in, to come off the bench and provide insant offense and attitude. Or improve spacing options when LA needs to go quick and small with AI, Kobe, Nash, Clark and Dwight. It still may not be too late to add this piece. AI still has a lot of game left and is much younger and hungry. Metta gives LA nothing now. They should just flush him or let him walk.

    • louhudson23 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Artest has to take it easy just in case an errant accidental elbow occurs and this time succeeds in decapitating someone….

      • kavika6 - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:09 AM

        “Accidental”? I’m guessing that was sarcasm.

  15. exhelo1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    You can’t build a team around Kobe at this stage of his career. Unfortunately, that is what the Lakers have been doing the past three years. It’s a combination of Bynum not being a “cornerstone” player (due to physical and attitude limitations), Kobe being unwilling to give up being the focal point, other players not being aggressive enough offensively, other players and coaches (including Jackson) deferring too much to Kobe, and Kobe not understanding (or caring) that leadership is more than just being the hardest worker on the team.

    Kobe’s b-ball IQ, and skillset, would make him an exceptional complementary piece, and he has clearly made more efforts than previously to play that role. He may have figured out the proper balance for that role this season, but with the injuries and coaching instability, we’ll never know.

    • kavika6 - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      Kobe needs to learn from guys like David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

  16. houstonoilers - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Hurry up season and get over with so we can all have a going away party for the big baby Howard. Move on youdrama queen.

  17. rgarritt - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    What needs to happen before they start playing with an edge? This team was poorly constructed. Nash is an old person. And they don’t believe. They’ll need to win close to 60% of their games to get into the playoffs. There will be a resurrection if certain players continue to play this passive brand of basketball.

  18. chi01town - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Kobe will get rid of Howard who should have went anywhere but to
    the Lakers

  19. ckinthekc99 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Shockexchange, name me one champion in the NBA whoever won a ring without “exceptionally more talent” than other teams in the NBA. Magic, Jordan, Lebron, Duncan, Bird, Thomas, who?????? Last time I checked all those players had other hall of famers on their team, so your argument not surprisingly makes no sense! I also forgot how badass Gasol is…guy is tough as nails, not to mention Artest, a superior talent, and Derek Fisher, cant forget how skilled and exceptionally talented he was. Kobe is so lucky to have played with that exceptionally talented group, he was a great complimentary player with that group. Do you ever make an argument that actually makes sense, just curious?

  20. lowtalker - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    IN RESPONSE to the comment “Nash is a trainwreck on defense” . . . . uh, you are being kind of generous aren’t you?

  21. youdressfunny - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Why does the media insist on continuing to cover a mediocre team like the lakers?? They are not news anymore. There are 20 or more other teams out there that we would like to hear more about and not these cry babies. Kobe and crew are washed up and will not make the playoffs. GET OVER THEM PLEASE!!

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      You can control which teams you read/hear about by simply not clicking on obvious Lakers stories. Duh.

  22. shockexchange - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    @zerole00 You know why the Shock Exchange speaks in 3rd person? Cause if he ever catches you on the basketball court he’ll give you “fiddy,” not fifty but “fiddy.” Seriously.

  23. tannethrill - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Kobe is still great but Dwight is going to push one of the two out the door this summer.

    This guy passed free agency to go back to the Magic for a year which at the time and now seems stupid. Is he stupid enough to walk without max?

    My guess is yes unless he forces Kobe out of town which I’ll admit is a tough pill to swallow although I do think it’s for the best for all parties.

  24. BigBeachBall - Feb 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Lakers need to find a coach that kobe, d12, and nash ‘sign off’ on…. Because it looks like there are three different agendas on the court….

  25. gmsingh - Feb 15, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    The only real question I have is, how different would things be if Phil Jackson were coach?

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