The words spoken by each player after the Los Angeles Lakers were humiliated at home 136-115 by the Golden State Warriors clearly show a pattern: There’s Kobe Bryant, and there’s the rest of the team, with Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer clearly not happy with how things are behind handled on the floor.
Bryant scored 44 points on 56% true shooting, which includes going 3-of-12 from beyond the arc and 15-of-34 from the field. It helps him move up the scoring charts to number two this season with 27.3 points per game, but it’s still not quite clear if it’s the best thing for the Lakers. But the problems are much deeper than Bryant’s shooting. The defense doesn’t exist, and neither does the offense. The ball doesn’t move. The players don’t move. It’s either zero confidence, zero trust or all of these factors put in together.
Bryant, always the supporting teammate, had this to say after the game: I’d rather not have to do that, but you can’t just sit back and watch crime happen in front of you.
Now if this was an isolated incident of Bryant going off without anyone slowing him down, it might be easier to side with him. The rest of his teammates shot just 36.9% from the field and at times it looked like everyone other than Jordan Hill (15 points) and Carlos Boozer (3-of-13 from the field) are afraid to take shots. Lin was clearly a non factor with 0 points in 22 minutes of basketball. This wasn’t just an off night. It follows a pattern of being ignored on the floor, leading to him making bad decisions when he finally gets a chance to do something.
It’s interesting to see the difference between how players view these things, and how Bryant sees the situation. In his eyes, this is all about him playing with a bunch of crappy teammates, and it’s up to him to save the day, each game at a time. Or at least that’s what he’s letting out. If you read us before, you probably know we think Bryant has other things occupying his mind, although it’s obvious he doesn’t like losing very much. Jeremy Lin looked like a million things were bothering him at once after the game, finding it hard to find the word to describe how is he feeling about the situation of being on a 1-9 team that looks worse with almost every game that goes by.
Carlos Boozer was a little bit more specific when it comes to what’s not working on offense: A lot of times we run a set. But Kobe is extremely aggressive. We try to get it off the glass. But we have to find a balance.
Jeremy Lin spoke about trust and communication. Right now it seems Byron Scott is expecting one thing, the players on the court are doing something different, and then there’s Kobe Bryant doing his own separate thing. Obviously, that’s not good, especially on a team that’s short on offensive talent, depth and size. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
There’s not one person or faction to blame. If the team is this torn apart, and it clearly looked that way as the Warriors ran them over, it’s probably up to the coach to try and mend things back together again and get things under control. But this is a chicken and the egg scenario – Bryant is shooting too much, stagnating the offense. He doesn’t trust teammates because they do too little with the ball. They don’t do much with the ball because they seem surprised when they touch it during Bryant’s presence on the floor.
And a little final something about Bryant: He attempted 24 shots from the field in the first half, something no one has done since the 1996-1997 NBA season. Over that same period, there have been eight instances of a player taking 24 shots or more in any half: Bryant was the “culprit” on six of those eight times.