Things are not getting any better for the Los Angeles Lakers, and it would appear that the team’s struggles are starting to do a number on Kobe Bryant. The Lakers have lost nine of their last 11 games. On the rare occasions that they play well defensively, they don’t score enough points. When they put up plenty of points, the defense isn’t there.
After L.A.’s loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said Kobe sat his locker with his uniform on until well after the team bus had left.
Everyone else on these Los Angeles Lakers had showered, dressed and bundled themselves to march out into the coldest night across the past two winters here. As the clock lurched past midnight in the losing locker room, the team bus gone, Kobe Bryant still wore his purple and gold jersey inside a tiny cubicle.
For some reason, he was holding onto one more night, one more loss, a little longer on Monday. He had marched past the Michael Jordan statue in the United Center, embraced Scottie Pippen courtside and understood he had never been so far away from those six championship banners hanging above him.
Bryant said that whatever the Lakers are trying to do “isn’t working,” and he took much of the blame for not being able to get the ball to teammates who are struggling like Dwight Howard. Kobe said that his chemistry with Howard has been lacking, but that he has tried desperately to help him deal with the pressures that come with playing in L.A.
“I’ve constantly tried to help him out, tried to talk to him,” Bryant told Wojnarowski. “Two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning. Texting him. Sharing reading materials. Anything to try and help him. He’s coming off a major surgery in a market where it’s just merciless; where there’s demands and responsibilities of athletes. It’s been tough on him.”
The Lakers are 17-24 and slowly falling out of playoff contention. Kobe said that the team needs to “get back to basics,” which may be a lot easier said than done. After the game, he tweeted the following bizarre picture.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Maybe the Lakers need Beethoven to calm them down. Maybe the best is yet to come. Perhaps they have yet to establish enough chemistry and will light up the NBA down the stretch. Or, it’s possible that this team is just too old and not built to play together. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we envision them to.