Just when you thought the Lakers were becoming a threat in the Western Conference, they go out and lose to the Washington Wizards at home. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned from injuries Friday, but the team blew a big third quarter lead and lost 103-100. After the game, coach Mike D’Antoni ripped into the team and decried their championship aspirations. D’Antoni’s biggest issue with his team is that they are mentally inconsistent.
“This is a good team that for whatever reason just can’t get collectively, mentally … get stimulated to do it every time,” D’Antoni said, via the Los Angeles Times.
D’Antoni then ranted about the way the team breaks from huddles.
“We put our hands in, and you guys have probably seen it, we say ‘Championship.’ God, that’s laughable. Championship? You’ve got to be kidding me. Until they understand the importance of every possession offensively and defensively and they’ve got to come out with some determination to be a good basketball team, then we’re just fooling ourselves. We’re just making a sham-mockery out of it or whatever you say it is.”
One of D’Antoni’s biggest concerns was that the team did not play hard enough. He thinks they took it easy after building an 18-point lead in the third quarter and began coasting. He’s probably right too — after being up 59-41 in the third, the Lakers allowed the Wizards to close on a 15-4 run and make it a two-point game after three quarters.
Kobe Bryant had 21 points and 11 assists playing 38 minutes in his return from a sprained ankle. Pau Gasol had four points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes playing his first game since Feb. 5. Bryant missed a potential tying three at the end of the game and sent a tweet to explain how he would be moving on from the loss:
When ur game take a s*i* . Flush it. Get up and move on #mambaism
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 23, 2013
Classic Mamba. The Lakers have finally started to look like a playoff team, but they’re still far from being a championship team. That definitely is not happening this season.
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