On the other hand, Kobe Bryant looked incredibly irritated as he walked off the court, head down, all alone after the latest loss. He then ignored reporters for a second consecutive game, his second mini-boycott of the media this season. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson actually spent a full 2 1/2 minutes with reporters in the wake of Wednesday's debacle after providing five terse seconds of his time in Charlotte.
"I think they took the [All-Star] break before the game," he said, declining to name names though it wouldn't spoil anything to provide some clues (RonArtestLamarOdomAndrewBynum).
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last time they played, they won by 55. This time, they lost.
Yesterday, the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers were beaten by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently came within a whisper of setting the NBA record for most consecutive defeats.
Yes, the purple-and-gold has fallen. Yes, superstar Kobe Bryant is miffed. And yes, the world’s best player wants changes.
There’s no other way to interpret Bryant boycotting the media after the loss. Like Coach Phil Jackson, he believes his supporting cast isn’t pulling their weight and are in vacation mode.
Ron Artest’s play has to be particularly worrying for the Lakers’ brass. Last year, the three-man played with desire, despite struggling with Phil Jackson’s triple-post sets.
This year … well, the Lakers are still waiting for Artest to arrive. He’s averaging a career low 8 points per game and hasn’t played with his trademark defensive intensity.
Artest’s poor play has been compounded by Matt Barnes’ injury. Without Barnes' energy, the bench has been up and down, while the steady Derek Fisher continues to show his age.
Expect the Lakers to be buyers at the trade deadline. They have no choice -if they want to compete for a third straight championship.
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