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Evilmav2
11-11-2003, 07:04 PM
http://www.forbes.com/images/2001/06/26/kobe_byrant_150x140.jpg
Grisly Loss for Lakers

Sloppy offense, defense lead to 105-95 defeat at Memphis, and old issues arise after Bryant tries to take over.

By Tim Brown, Times Staff Writer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. The men of the first quiet locker room of the season had a chance to reflect on their full Laker experience, the feud of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal followed two weeks later by a wholly pretentious game by Bryant.

Gary Payton, who played 27 minutes Monday night, 10 in the second half, and Karl Malone sat rigidly near the same corner 30 minutes after the Memphis Grizzlies had danced from the floor of The Pyramid, 105-95 winners against the team with all of the Hall of Famers.

At the conclusion of a second consecutive defeat to end a four-game trip, Shaquille O'Neal pulled a stocking cap low over his eyebrows. He mumbled a few stock explanations for the 23 turnovers and the Lakers' inability to impose their offense on the young Grizzlies, and then he stomped off for Los Angeles.

Bryant, recovering from knee surgery, had attempted a signature, climb-on-his-back fourth quarter, which the Lakers began down by 16 points. He took eight shots, missed five, went to the free-throw line four times and rarely appeared to glance at a teammate. He made four of 14 field-goal attempts in a 19-point loss to New Orleans on Friday night and five of 15 against the Grizzlies. The Lakers lost them both. Their record is 5-2, the offense is disjointed and the defense, again, was overrun.

Coach Phil Jackson said he believed Bryant's legs were weary, which led to the late misses. Bryant shook his head and grinned.

"Naw, I just missed 'em," Bryant said. "Sometimes you miss 'em, sometimes you make 'em. But you'll never know if you can make 'em if you don't shoot."

They have said they believe these are temporary issues, that Malone and Payton will catch on, that a streamlined offense and a determined defense will follow, and the wins will, too.

But the process appears to have slowed as Bryant has gained confidence in his shot, and late Monday night there were unmistakable pleas from inside Bryant's locker room for movement of the basketball and reliance on teammates.

"We just have to, you know, move the ball around, use the guys we got, look for mismatches and keep looking for high-percentage shots," O'Neal said. "It's a very simple game. We just have to make it simple."

Asked if it were simply a matter of further integration of Malone and Payton, O'Neal shook his head.

"Nah," he said. "We just got to move the ball, take care of the basketball. Basketball is still basketball. Most of the players in this league are pretty much the same. It's all about moving the ball, taking high-percentage shots and limiting our turnovers."

Bryant scored eight consecutive points in the fourth quarter, the last two on a short turn-around jumper with 3:35 remaining to bring the Lakers to within 95-86. By then, teammates were standing and watching. Bryant missed two long three-point attempts, and O'Neal attempted only two fourth-quarter field goals with the game in some doubt. Bryant finished with 19 points, O'Neal 20, Malone 13 and Payton six. Devean George, who scored 17 points, had the hottest hand, and was afforded two second-half shots.

Asked if Bryant's assertive fourth quarter were by design or of his own initiative, Jackson said, "I wouldn't choose either of those two options. It was not by design and I think he just felt he had to punch it up there. He just doesn't have the legs now for the three-point shots he was trying to take, so "

Since training camp, the Lakers have spoken often of finding open men in the offense, even if it is not exactly within the triangle. There were assumptions that Bryant would defer to those concepts, but there seemed to be underlying doubt by Monday night.

"I'm not that concerned," Jackson said. "I think he needs some strengthening and he needs some game conditioning and he needs to find a rhythm in his game."

And, of Bryant's decisions in the meantime, Jackson said, "That'll come. That'll come when he gets strong enough."

Malone scraped together 10 shots and made half of them. He took one shot in the second half and made it.

"You never like to lose," Malone said. "But I've been around long enough to know when things get tough, it's easy to say it's somebody else's fault. It's been 19 years now, and losing still leaves a [bad] taste in my mouth. It ain't ever going to change. We all can learn something from these games and apply it to the next one."

Asked specifically about the fourth quarter, Malone said of Bryant, "He's a competitor. Trying, all of that, that's who he is.

"Am I surprised he tried to do more? Not really. We've all got to realize as the season goes on, we can make it easier for each other. When we realize that, it'll be better. It's growing pains."

Barely two weeks ago, somewhat similar remarks by O'Neal that Bryant ought to rely some on his teammates offended Bryant.

"I think he has a lot of help out there," O'Neal said then. "When he has a lot of help he should use them."

On Monday, Malone said:

"It's not time now to start saying, 'This guy, that guy.' How we bounce back is the key."

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Ummmmm Ok
11-11-2003, 07:25 PM
"Naw, I just missed 'em," Bryant said. "Sometimes you miss 'em, sometimes you make 'em. But you'll never know if you can make 'em if you don't shoot."

Gotta love this from a Mavs perspective. If Kobe Keeps shooting and not getting the others involved, they won't make it to the WCF. Kobe makes or breaks this team. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

Shaq Attack2
11-11-2003, 11:07 PM
Unfortunately it's true. Kobe's being an idiot, and not running the offense. At least GP and Karl are trying, but Kobe is just refusing. Why do you think he was benched only 6 minutes into the 1st quarter? Shaq started jawwing at him and then PJ, and so PJ took an immediate time out, benched Kobe, and had the other players run the offense.

bogey
11-12-2003, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2
Unfortunately it's true. Kobe's being an idiot, and not running the offense. At least GP and Karl are trying, but Kobe is just refusing. Why do you think he was benched only 6 minutes into the 1st quarter? Shaq started jawwing at him and then PJ, and so PJ took an immediate time out, benched Kobe, and had the other players run the offense.

This was why many of us said earlier that Kobe was going to cause trouble for the flkaers this eyar. I still think Kobe should not play this year. He is a huge distraction adn I think the team would be ultimately more successful this year without him.

Shaq Attack2
11-12-2003, 01:57 AM
Originally posted by: bogey

Originally posted by: Shaq Attack2
Unfortunately it's true. Kobe's being an idiot, and not running the offense. At least GP and Karl are trying, but Kobe is just refusing. Why do you think he was benched only 6 minutes into the 1st quarter? Shaq started jawwing at him and then PJ, and so PJ took an immediate time out, benched Kobe, and had the other players run the offense.

This was why many of us said earlier that Kobe was going to cause trouble for the flkaers this eyar. I still think Kobe should not play this year. He is a huge distraction adn I think the team would be ultimately more successful this year without him.

Well that's just an ignorant statement. Kobe has already single handedly won one game this year for the Lakers (Bucks) and is averaging 22-5-4 stats. He was hardly the reason the Lakers lost to the Grizz yesterday.

Oh sure though, he's totally worthless, Kobe should sit. i/expressions/rolleye.gif

Psychedelic Fuzz
11-12-2003, 10:45 AM
so how many will he win single-handedly, and how many will he lose single-handedly?

Shaq Attack2
11-12-2003, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by: Psychedelic Fuzz
so how many will he win single-handedly, and how many will he lose single-handedly?

Unless Kobe takes 35 or 40 shots in a game this season (which was necessary at times last season, but obviously not this season) the Lakers will never lose because of Kobe. I mean sure, he could turn the ball over in crunch time or something and that might cost the Lakers a game, but when was the last time that happened?