After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-94 Tuesday evening, the Lakers are now 3-8 in their last 11 games. And for the first time in Kobe Bryant’s career, he is simply baffled.
"This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too, " an frustrated Kobe Bryant said. "We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we're not, and it's baffling. It's extremely frustrating. It doesn't make any sense. We're still finding ways to lose games. I'm very upset. When things get hard, you should get more determined, not shake your heads. It just seems when it rains it pours. It's like this cloud is following us around at all times. I'm one of the fastest guys on the team -- and I'm like 50. What does that tell you?"
The Lakers were supposed to be better after firing former head coach Mike Brown, but so far, Mike D’Antoni hasn’t done any better thus far. "We played very uninspired basketball, offensively and defensively," said a distraught Mike D'Antoni. "We play at a very slow pace and we struggle. Maybe it shifts over to defense. Maybe we're slow. Maybe we can't do it. ... It's my job to fix it -- and that's what I'll do."
Magic Johnson, however, doesn’t believe that Mike D’Antoni can fix it. Magic, who has always been vocal about his disapproval of Mike Brown, didn’t hesitate to offer some choice words for D’Antoni as well.
"I've gotta adjust my system a little bit if I'm the coach. That's all," Johnson said. "His system doesn't fit the talent that the Lakers have. You can't run with this team. Who are the runners? You've got one guy who can get up and down the court and that's Kobe Bryant.”
The Lakers organization is hopeful that the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol will fix their glaring problems, but their prolonged absence is a clear indication that this roster is too old for D’Antoni’s system. Either the Lakers need to make a trade for Pau Gasol (Josh Smith) or D’Antoni needs to run more of a half court set where he utilizes his 7 footers. If not, this roster will be one of the most talented in NBA history, not even to make the playoffs.