CHICAGO — Kobe Bryant wants to fix the Lakers. Badly. Immediately.
He said things were “very, very tough … very, very frustrating,” and that he was “trying to keep my cool,” after the Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, 95-83.
“We’re going to have to change something … probably going to have to post the ball a lot more, slow the game down a lot more,” he said. “I am a big history guy. Playing here in this arena with these incredible fans, you’re in the house [that] M.J., [Scottie] Pippen, P.J. built. To put this kind of brand of basketball on the floor is just not acceptable.”
P.J. is, of course, Phil Jackson. M.J. needs no introduction.
Neither does Pippen, really. In fact, Bryant went up to him after the game and offered a few brief words after shaking his hand near his courtside seat. Maybe it was an apology. Bryant has shot poorly the last three games, going seven for 22 against Chicago as the Lakers failed again to do anything passable on offense.
Before that, he was 10 for 32 against Toronto and eight for 25 against Miami. The Lakers (17-24) have lost nine of their last 11 games and finish a three-game trip Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn.
Overseeing it all is Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni, now 12-19 since his first game on the Lakers’ bench. When he arrived, he had visions of the Lakers scoring 110 points a game. They’ve done it seven times with him, winning four.
“I’ve got it down to about 70 [points], so we’re working on it,” he said sarcastically. “We’re going the wrong way. There’s just not a lot of flow. It’s just not good movement. Just tough. It’s agonizing to watch.”
Bryant isn’t the only unhappy player.
Dwight Howard had only five shots Monday and said he wanted more touches because “I can’t do what I do best with five shots.”
Pau Gasol was mortified to be demoted to reserve status but remained relatively professional.
“I’m not excited about it,” he said after posting 15 points and 12 rebounds, declining to talk in-depth about his feelings because he was more concerned about the team.