From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: For the second time in five games, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol watched the final minutes of the fourth quarter from the sidelines. Kobe Bryant says Gasol has to take it into his own hands to change that.”Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magicon Sunday that dropped the team’s record to 8-9. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.” For the second time in five games, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol watched the final minutes of the fourth quarter from the sidelines. Kobe Bryant says Gasol has to take it into his own hands to change that.”Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday that dropped the team’s record to 8-9. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.”
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Kobe Bryant is a little frustrated. Okay, a lot frustrated. He’s pissed off. And he should be after the Lakers Swiss-cheese defense was picked apart by the struggling Magic as they beat the Lakers Sunday night. The Lakers problems are not simple — it’s not just Pau Gasol not being comfortable, it’s not just Dwight Howard’s free throws, it’s not just Steve Nash being injured, it’s not just the bench, it’s not just the defense. It’s all of it together. Kobe’s answer to any challenge is to work harder. That has been the modus operandi of his career and it has worked pretty well. And that is at the core of his rant after the Lakers ugly loss Sunday night, via Joe McDonald at Fox Sports West.
From Andy Kamenetzky, ESPN Los Angeles: Tuesday’s 79-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers may have been the most aesthetically unappealing loss of this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic topped it. At least Indiana plays good defense, which can in part explain the Lakers’ inability to unite ball and cord. And in the meantime, the Lakers played extremely active defense to compensate for the anemic offense. Sunday, they laid an egg on both ends of the court while largely phoning in the performance. And with their record now below .500 again, it goes without saying they can’t afford to play games through the use of cellular towers. If these guys don’t feel completely ashamed of themselves, something smells rotten in Denmark. Here are three takeaways from the loss.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Perhaps it was the last time there was true clarity in the Lakers’ front office this season. I asked Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss a month and a half ago – before Dwight Howard started playing but Steve Nash stopped, before Mike Brown’s defense was replaced by Mike D’Antoni’s offense – about what then and even still now boils down to the central issue for the Lakers’ franchise moving forward: Doesn’t Dwight still have a lot to learn as far as being a winner, about becoming the kind of mentally strong leader that is the mark of a truly great Laker? Buss’ response: “I don’t feel that, but if you ask the question, I’d say Kobe would probably be the best teacher of that.” Yes, yes, yes. The thorny part of that completely sensible answer is that maybe the question is inherently flawed. Maybe being that kind of winner is something you can never really learn. Howard’s mental toughness came into question again after the Lakers’ loss Sunday night to Orlando’s crew of NBA novices. It was enough for Kobe Bryant to question directly what Howard and Pau Gasol are doing.
From Mark Medina, LA Daily News: The Lakers have remained anxious for Steve Nash’s return. But they will have to wait some more. In a brief interview with this newspaper after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss Sunday to the Orlando Magic, Nash said the non-displaced fracture in his left leg hasn’t healed enough for him to play in at least the Lakers’ three-game trip this week. They have stops in Houston (Tuesday), New Orleans (Wednesday) and Oklahoma City (Friday). The Lakers then have a home game Sunday against Utah. Nash said he plans to fly with the team to receive further treatment, but he hardly sounded optimistic about his return.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Phil Jackson wasn’t the only one who got a late-night call last month. It was early compared with the one Dan D’Antoni received. Mike D’Antoni’s brother was sleeping peacefully in Charlotte, N.C., when the phone rang at 3:30 a.m. It was his son, Nick. He had some bewildering news. ”Dad, you’re going to L.A.,” he said. Dan D’Antoni didn’t believe it. ”Mike had told me his name was being bantered about, but he said, ‘We’re not going to get it. Phil [Jackson] is going to get it,’” Dan D’Antoni said. ”I told my son he was out of his mind. He said, ‘No, it’s all over the news.’ I got up, went in there to the TV and there it was. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I called my son the next day and said, ‘You could have waited until 7. I’m dead tired now.’” Joining the Lakers’ staff was the latest turn in an unorthodox career for Dan D’Antoni. He left behind 28 years of coaching at Socastee High in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to be on his brother’s staff with the Phoenix Suns in 2004. He was barely part of it. He was the fourth of four assistants. He sat behind the bench for games. But he watched, learned and studied the intricacies of his brother’s offense. Now he’s Mike D’Antoni’s most important sounding board on the court.