Kobe’s Temper Rises as Lakers Melt Under Heat

We don’t all have the luxury of attending a Lakers game, for us fans, any of the 82 games played could be considered premier matchups, but the Lakers organization only considers two games worthy of the premier title; the January 30th matchup against the Boston Celtics and the December 25th game against the Miami Heat.

Apparently, the Lakers didn’t quite get that message either.

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) yells at Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) after Bryant was called for an offensive foul in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on December 25, 2010.  UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

The Lakers were supposed to be the superior inside force, but Dwayne Wade wove into the paint, breaking down the defense with relative ease. Ron Artest was supposed to contain LeBron James, limiting his damage and preventing him from making plays or getting his way in transition, but James ended the night with a triple-double. Pau Gasol was supposed to dance circles around Bosh, but in the end, Bosh was the one making the right moves, prompting Phil Jackson to refer to Gasol’s shot release as being “soft.”

Ouch.

To say that the Lakers of late have lacked luster would be the understatement of the year. Perhaps adding to that their apparent lack of interest, passion, urgency and grit, and it sounds more accurate. So now is it time for Bryant to chime in?

“I think these games mean more to our opponents than they do to us,” Bryant said. “I think we need to get that straight. We need to play with more focus and put more importance on these games.

“We know what we’re capable of doing and that’s the problem. We’ve been there before and we know what we need to do and it’s kind of like, ‘OK, we’ll do it.’ But we need to get going here.”

There Bryant stood before the media, unimpressed by the Lakers effort against the Heat, visibly upset and using the podium to send a message to his teammates to “show up and work.” In case they didn’t happen to catch him the first time, he made sure to let everyone know he’d repeat it at practice on Monday.

Next: Lakers can no longer rest on their laurels

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