With their most recent loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Lakers have now dropped six straight games, all by double digits. Though Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell have shown improvements of late, this is still Kobe Bryant’s team.
Kobe has never been shy about calling out teammates and even though expectations are low for the Lakers right now, he won’t let certain things stand.
After the Blazers loss, Bryant reportedly ripped into the Lakers about their performance according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
With the Lakers offering little to stop Portland’s Damian Lillard (36 points) and CJ McCollum (28 points), Bryant provided pointed comments to his teammates about their play in the locker room afterwards, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
In particular, Kobe reportedly didn’t like that some were smiling after the loss and called out Randle and Russell by name:
Bryant, who posted 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five turnovers in 25 minutes through three quarters, became upset both with the Lakers (9-37) for losing their sixth consecutive game and for some on the team smiling after the loss, sources said. Bryant took particular aim at Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and second-year forward Julius Randle and even called them out by name, sources said.
Fans have been treated to a more happy Bryant throughout most of the season, but Kobe remains one of the most fierce competitors the NBA has ever seen. He has openly spoken about understanding where the Lakers stand in their rebuilding process, but the Lakers also don’t want to begin to accept losing.
The Lakers are a very young team and on most nights, the team is simply outmanned. Kobe, however, wants this team to return to greatness once he leaves and if he believes anyone isn’t giving maximum effort he will call them out — just as everyone witnessed last year.