After Kobe Bryant downplayed the Lakers 10-9 start without him, saying, “It’s not like we were gangbusters before,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni expressed his difference of opinion with that assertion according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA.
“I have to disagree with that,” D’Antoni said after Tuesday’s practice in preparation for their matchup against the Phoenix Suns. “We were 6-2 in the last eight and I thought we played extremely well, winning three on the road. So, that’s not quite right. I’m really proud of what the guys did.”
Surely we do expect Kobe Bryant to hold this team to a higher standard, but D’Antoni makes a great point.
Laker fans had every right to be proud of how this team has performed without Bryant. They battled through multiple injuries, and have played one of the strongest schedules of all the teams in the NBA. Despite all that, they still managed to somehow finish above the .500 mark.
The Lakers are now looking to build some new chemistry with Bryant back in the starting lineup. He didn’t fare too well in his first game, finishing with a line of nine points (on 2-9 shooting), eight rebounds, four assists, eight turnovers, and two steals in 28 minutes. Bryant was so displeased with his performance to the point that he gave himself an ‘F’.
Tonight we can expect a much better effort from Bryant against the Suns, as he’ll continue to develop a rhythm with his body and his teammates.
ICYMI: Kobe Bryant Grades His Debut Performance With An “F”