Kobe Bryant expertly used subtext to express his displeasure with Nick Young, Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer hamming it up after the Lakers beat the Celtics on Sunday.
Lakers coach Byron Scott agreed with his star, but he was a bit more straightforward.
Byron Scott said he was “angry” and “very disappointed” with how some of his players boisterously celebrated Sunday night after an overtime win against the rival Boston Celtics
“Kobe’s reaction was pretty much my reaction when I was watching it,” Scott said after practice Tuesday at the Lakers’ facility. “I was just shaking my head like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ ”
Scott said he showed his players the footage Tuesday morning and “just told them that I was disappointed in it. That’s not us as Lakers. That’s not how we act. It showed a lack of professionalism.”
To whatever degree the Lakers are tanking to keep their top-five protected first-round pick, they’re also trying to avoid short-term embarrassment.
Signing Young to a four-year, $21.5 million contract was not a tanking move. Signing Hill to a two-year, $18 million contract was not a tanking move. Claiming a well-into-his-30s Boozer on waivers was not a tanking move.
The Lakers are relying on those veterans to remain respectable, which they surely hope will keep fans coming and free agents interested. The Lakers carry a certain prestige that will be maintained only through winning.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a win over a historic rival. It must be tough for these players to go through such a miserable season. Imagine how much more difficult it’d be if they couldn’t enjoy the few moments worth celebrating.
I’m not sure whether the old-school Scott views it the same way, seeing a need to balance the Lakers’ cachet with his players’ desire to express themselves. He might just want them to always act like they’ve been there before.
But if he has any doubt, you can bet he’s siding with Kobe.