On an unrelated note, Bryant expressed not a hint of concern for picking up five technical fouls in last six games: [Expletive] it. Don't care. I can afford it.".
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Forget Kobe Bryant’s choice of words. He has bigger issues than a fine from league head office.
Consider the recent plight of his Los Angeles Lakers: they’ve lost four of their past six games; they haven’t played well for weeks; they, according to Bryant, are ‘skipping steps’; and last night they were booed at home for a terrible effort in a loss to the average Memphis Grizzlies.
Their problems are greater than being bored with the regular season. And their problems are also greater than arrogantly thinking they can hit a switch for the playoffs.
This year, the Lakers have serious competition. In the Western Conference, there’s the San Antonio Spurs and, provided they get past their recent string of injuries, the Dallas Mavericks. Neither team will concede an inch in a best of seven playoff series.
If the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals, they could face the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, two superb defensive teams. And the Orlando Magic, despite two mid-season trades, is still dangerous.
So the competition is better, while, it appears, the purple-and-gold is worse.
Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers are extremely talented. But something is missing from the two-time defending champions. Perhaps the hunger is gone. Perhaps the motivation is gone.
Or perhaps everything will be fine next June, and Bryant and his teammates will be celebrating a three-peat. Right now, this scenario seems unlikely.
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