Kobe Bryant’s won more than his fair share of games during is career. But he’s lost a few, too. It’s just part of the NBA. So it would be easy for him to brush off what happened Saturday as the Heat creamed his Lakers, busting out by 20 point in the fourth quarter and eventually losing by 16. But in typical Kobe fashion, he is not brushing it off. He was angry following the loss, and let people know about it. From the Los Angeles Times:
“This is serious stuff,” he said after scoring 17 quiet points on six-for-16 shooting. “You dont just have two rings and say were satisfied with what weve got and let it slide. Im not rolling with that.”
He wasnt finished, continuing to glower as he fielded reporters questions for the first time in six days, his media boycott officially ending.
“I think these games mean more to our opponent than they do us,” he said. “I think we need to get that straight. I think we need to play with more focus and put more importance on these games. I don’t like it.”
via Lakers performance in 96-80 loss to Heat has Kobe Bryant questioning their effort – latimes.com.
You can watch video of Bryant’s press conference here. You have to take Bryant’s comments very much in context. And by that I mean, he’s not saying there’s something wrong with the Lakers. He’s simply saying the team isn’t giving enough effort in games that they know don’t matter. Everyone knows these games mean nothing because LA can still coast to homecourt advantage in at least the first round. Losing to the Heat doesn’t mean they’re vulnerable in the playoffs just like creaming the Heat wouldn’t have shown they’re invincible should those two teams meet in the Finals. It just means that Miami decided to show up and perform to expectations, and the Lakers decided to elf around the entire day.
But it’s still not going to make it any less painful for Bryant, who hates losing more than anything, or embarrassing for the rest of the Lakers.