Reporting from Charlotte, N.C. – The Lakers lost again to the Charlotte Bobcats, which hardly passes as news any longer, though they continued to earn headlines by putting forth another indescribably uninspired effort.
After a long night in Miami, the Lakers showed up in plenty of time to play the Bobcats, as confirmed by a box score that also revealed several other unsettling concepts, starting with the Bobcats’ 98-83 victory Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Pau Gasol continued to play far below All-Star level, the Lakers kept treating March like exhibition season and Kobe Bryant seemed angry at it all for the first time in recent memory.
None of it would be endorsed by Lakers’ fans, except perhaps the final part, Bryant quietly burning in the fourth quarter and again after the game while talking to reporters.
He didn’t shoot well, making nine of 21 attempts on the way to 26 points, and was tight-lipped in a postgame interview.
Had he talked to his teammates yet about putting forth a better effort?
“I’ll probably say something,” Bryant said.
Kind or unkind?
“What do you think?” he said.
Nobody seemed to be in a perky mood, for obvious reasons.
The Lakers fell to 2-4 in Charlotte and 5-7 overall against the Bobcats, who have never made the playoffs.
By the numbers, it wasn’t the Lakers’ worst loss of the season, a dishonor reserved for a 105-79 blowout in Denver back in mid-November. Effort-wise, Friday might have been the lowest of the low. The Lakers earned next to nothing.
The Bobcats came into the game with the NBA’s 28th-ranked offense, but looked like the Globetrotters against the Lakers, scoring at will and having fun doing it.
Not so for the Lakers.
Bryant rolled his eyes when Gasol wasn’t ready for a behind-the-back entry pass in the fourth quarter. When Bryant left the game for good, he sat at the end of the bench next to Lamar Odom, staring vacantly and talking to nobody during the final few minutes.
In fact, the game marked the Bobcats’ most lopsided victory over the Lakers, prompting Bryant to use the word “flat” four times while describing how the Lakers played.
It was bad enough that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson went into the quote vault and pulled one out from a legendary football coach.