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Dwight Howard, Mike D’Antoni wisely dodge questions about Kobe’s role in loss to Wizards

Mar 24, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

In the aftermath of the Lakers’ embarrassing loss at the hands of the Wizards on Friday, any remotely astute observer could tell you that there was plenty of blame to be placed squarely on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant.

It’s not a bad thing in Bryant’s eyes; he’ll gladly take all of the heat anytime his team loses. In this particular case, it was well-deserved.

In addition to Bryant’s lack of team defense, which has been a consistent issue all season, his going into hero-mode offensively down the stretch made it easier than it needed to be for Washington to hang on for the victory.

We all saw it, and Bryant’s teammates and head coach saw it, too. Just don’t expect them to go on record as saying so.

Dwight Howard (as seen in the video clip above, via Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles) gave only a smirk as his response to a question of how Trevor Ariza, who torched the Lakers for 25 points and knocked down seven three-pointers, consistently got so wide open for those looks.

Mike D’Antoni had plenty to say in his postgame press conference, but stayed away from a pointed question where the response would have clearly been to blame Bryant for the team’s late-game staleness offensively.

The question was something to the effect of, what did he attribute to the ball sticking on offensive possessions late in that fourth quarter.

You can see D’Antoni’s response here, and it’s pretty hilarious.

“Oh, I don’t know, that’s a good question,” D’Antoni said, extremely sarcastically. “I wish I knew.”

D’Antoni’s expression told us that of course he knew. But there was no way he was going to say it.

“What, are you going to throw me a piece of dynamite,” he said, after a hearty laugh that suggested we were all in on the same joke.

Howard and D’Antoni handled the situation perfectly. There’s enough drama surrounding the otherworldly expectations placed on this Lakers team given the talent assembled on the roster, and the players and coaches don’t need to feed into that by calling out Bryant on a night where he hurt the team more than he helped on both ends of the floor.

  1. dirtydavis - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    I am skipping the foreplay to go straight to the point. D’antoni needs to go

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:09 AM

      Maybe so, but just as much as that may need to happen, Kobe needs to stop freelancing on defense. It has been a major problem for three straight seasons now.

  2. ihavenonickname - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I actually thought metta’s poor decisions were more costly down the stretch.

    • conjecture101 - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      watch the tape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voS4Wuj_am8

      • zxrated - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM

        That Last three by Ariza was absolutely disgusting to watch! Kobe was arguing with the ref (not the first time) and made no attempt to even get over the half-court line and help his teammates?!? I’m a long time Laker fan and a fan of Kobe but that ISH was infuriating!!!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      That charge he got called for certainly hurt. Blown layup and inability to stay in front of his man were also issues.

  3. norcal031 - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    There you have it Laker fans. Kobe Bryant can’t lead. I have known this since 2007. He does not have any rings. They all belong to Shaq, Phil and D Fish. He is nothing more than Carmello Anthony but played for a HOF coach and had a HOF worthy big man at all times. Now LeBron, he is a leader. Yes life events got in the way of his play at one point but what would any of us done under those “alleged” reasons. Those moments have passed and LeBron will never not give the most effort out on the floor for his teamates and for the fans.

  4. michaeljordanseviltwin - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    To address the title of this post; why is it so wise to dodge Kobe questions? Somebody needs to address it. Kobe gambles for steals 12 times a game and averages 1.3; the other 10.7 times he’s getting burned on defense. And the hero ball is a well established Kobe tradition. Every stat in the world shows that he hurts his team in the clutch by jacking up off balance threes yet Stephen A. Smith and Jon Barry keep shouting Kobe praises from the rooftops. It’s time somebody get WISE to Kobe’s poor decision making. Teach an old dog some new tricks like defense.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      sure thing…and we will retort with 7 Title appearances. oh? he had nothing to do with that? uhhh…okay, yeah right. making his team worse or better…the Lakers have had more success the past 17 than any other team. and im not going to play this ” what if…” game. it is what it is. he was fortunate to play on talented teams. again, it is what it is. Lakers are very happy with Kobe’s overall resume.

      • mogogo1 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM

        Except his overall resume is irrelevant to this discussion. He is no longer the seamen guy who won all those titles and this is a different team. So he could get away with gambling on defense at one time… But that time has past. Check out the stats…he now loses them more games trying to take over down the stretch than he wins them. Since he won them titles years ago that reality can never be addressed?

      • mogogo1 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:42 AM

        Seamen instead of same? Gotta love autocorrect!

      • loungefly74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:53 PM

        his last title was just in 2010! lets not act like that was a lifetime ago….it was not. sorry, im not one to forget recent history so quickly. Kobe has always gambled. The Laker live and die by him. Now if you are just talking about the tail end of his career, which this is, of course…sure he is not the same guy…but he is still better than 90% of the league. I’m sure Laker management know what they are doing. easy for us to be “arm-chair point guards”…

        oh…those stats are extremely skewed. please tell me where you got that steal stat.

  5. dalucks - Mar 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Less is more when it comes to Mike D’antioni and Dwight Howard.
    Less talking to the media and more concentration on basketball like Kobe.
    The Lakers should push the reset button at the end of the season and fire D’antioni then trade Dwight to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez and two 1st round draft picks. Sent Pau to Minnesota for Kevin Love and 2 1st round draft picks.
    This is the best and only way to improve this roster.

    • byrdstheword82 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      You do realize that if was D.Howard instead of Kobe that he wouldn’t have answered so nicely (as we have seen in the past, what month!) Kobe should have never gotten on the court if he knew he wasn’t well. It’s okay to sometimes take a seat and be a cheerleader on the sidelines if in the long run you can heal properly and get back out there to really help. Kobe’s problem is that he doesn’t know how to just chill sometimes. Trying to be superman will only give you performances like last night if you aren’t fully healed, and get you blasted on blog like this one. LOL!

    • bougin89 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      Pau Gasol for Kevin Love and 2 1st round draft picks… SMH. It’s better to not post insane trade ideas, you only look very foolish if you do so.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Kobe waited too long to assert himself in that game, that’s the only misgiving I had while watching. He was doing a great job in facilitating, but the offense stalled for most of the 3rd, and by the time he tried to get it going in the 4th, he couldn’t buy a bucket down the stretch. That’s it. Ariza making 3′s like layups was more of an issue than what Kobe did or didn’t do.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      agree…Ariza will not/does not hit threes like that all the time. every dog has…

  7. rodge1 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Just because Kobe makes so much money doesn’t mean he should have to play defense or at least try to play defense… Oh wait, yes it does.

  8. aboogy123456 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Haters will pile on kobe no matter what, it’s really crazy. The fact is, with kobe’s ankle he shouldn’t have been playing this game. You could see he wasn’t playing like his normal self. He wanted to help his team and play, but an ankle sprain like he had is not going to heal in a week enough for him to play well, especially on D where he has to chase his guy around.

    • mytthor - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      You’re saying because he had a bad ankle he shouldn’t be blamed for being selfish on offense? Seems to me like even more reason he should be willing to move the ball in the 4th

    • byrdstheword82 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Dude have you ever played basketball. I played for years as a SG and one thing you learn is that on days when you feel like crap, if you can’t get in the bucket, dish it to those who can.

  9. martysnooks - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    “the fact is, with Kobe’s ankle he shouldn’t have been playing this game”……..and who exactly do you think made that decision?

  10. doctordunkenstein - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    It’s Kobe’s teammates fault for not telling him to pass them the ball more in the fourth quarter.

  11. bucs24 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    It’s time to clean house

  12. monsterofyourgirlsmidway - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    or however tall he is

  13. rabbdogg - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    the author is a kobe hater…sprained ankle idiot..oh but doesn’t fit your hateful narrative does it…

  14. bucrightoff - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    The evidence was in the first half Kobe was playing within the offense and actually passing, in lo and behold the Lakers were winning. And at the end of the game he went into Black Mamba mode (i.e. I’m not passing mode) and they lost. It’s amazing that despite now playing for 17 years, he still doesn’t realize his team does better when he’s playing with them rather than for himself.

  15. sunsation3413 - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Hey Rabbdogg….The author is a Laker homer. If you were on here regularly, you would see he writes articles about the Lakers 3-4 times a day for this forum. For once he’s stating the truth…Kobe isn’t 24 anymore. He’ll never win again if he doesn’t play team ball. But I dont think he’s capable of doing that on a regular basis. So I will enjoy seeing Lebron catch and pass Michael while Kobe begrudgingly retires.

  16. stayhigh_247 - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    I dont want a coach that can’t / won’t hold every man accountable. It should start with Kobe and work its way down. Honestly, as a player I couldn’t respect a coach thats afraid to be a coach. You think Pop’s is scared to get at Tim Duncan? Dwight needs to get in Kobes face in the locker room when he does that. You know Shaq would have said something…

    • mogogo1 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      That is their problem in a nutshell… Rudderless with no accountability, from Buss the Younger on down. Rash decisions, poor signings, offensive philosophies that don’t fit the roster, supposed team leaders that only care about themselves…

    • dko83 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:57 AM

      Well said my weed smoking friend.

  17. ortizmari27 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Kobe has always played bad weak side defense nothing new,so the ankle has nothing to do with it!!!

  18. omniusprime - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Dumbtoni and Howard wisely said nothing after the embarrassing loss to the lowly Wizards about Kobe’s hero ball play late in that game. Unfortunately neither spoke up during the game to get Kobe back to playing team ball. So both are just as guilty as Kobe of Kobe hogging the ball late in the game.

    Dumbtoni can’t coach because he’s too much of a coward to confront Kobe when he needs to. Phil Jackson sure got in Kobe’s face when he needed to, usually had a Zen way of doing it but would get irritated when necessary. Dumbtoni is the biggest problem the Lakers have had to overcome this season, and I thought Clueless Clown Brown was bad.

    It also doesn’t help to have such a pathetic point guard as Ancient Trash Nash playing late in the game, he never plays any defense.

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!!

  19. ajacobs1979 - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    You’d be hard-pressed to argue Kobe’s status amongst the best to have ever played this game. His talent, stats, and accomplishments are impossible to argue. Of course he has/had help; all players do in team sports. Also, Kobe is not perfect…just as Wilt, Magic, Bird, Kareem, Jordan, Shaq, and the current elite stars were/are not. It’s unfortunate Kobe is only now understanding and embracing his role as a leader. There are still times when he reverts to the “bad Kobe”, but I do feel he’s better now at taking responsibility for it. Yes, this will be the one knock on his legacy, but you find me another player without one. I’m a die-hard Lakers fan, but I’m not irrational and can absolutely see Kobe’s imperfections. My point here is you can say the same about every other all-time great. Let’s criticize Kobe when he’s earned it, but let’s also avoid irrational comments about how overrated he is and how he makes his team worse, etc.

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