Bryant interview

ATLANTA — Kobe Bryant didn’t have much to say after the Lakers’ loss Monday to the New Orleans Hornets. He was more expansive when he was a pregame guest in the NBATV studios Tuesday night, however. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Bryant on the vision he has for his team going into the Playoffs: “It is my responsibility to make sure that we improve and continue to move in the right direction. The playoffs are right here so it is important that I put my foot on the gas and make sure that we have in our mind’s eye the kind of urgency that we need to play with and defend.”

Bryant on his attitude during (Monday) night’s loss against the Hornets: “The trap that you run into is that you play with that sense of urgency when you are down 10, 12, 13 points. That is the kind of mentality that I do not want us to have going into the post season. You kind of lollygag going into a series and then you are down, 3-1. You kind of fall into that false sense of security and all of a sudden it is time to go and it’s too late.”

Bryant on the motivation the Lakers need to have going into the playoffs: “This is the first time that we have ever had to repeat. We don’t want to be that type of team that has to lose a championship in order to appreciate a championship. The experience we had in Boston (two years ago) should be enough to sustain that hunger for a period of time.”

Bryant on the difference between the Lakers this year and the Lakers last year: “We are a different team; it is tough to say if it is better. Ultimately, if we win another championship, we can’t go any higher than that. We won last year and if we are fortunate enough to win one this year you can call the teams on par. We have a different identity. Last year, Trevor (Ariza) had his hand on balls, he was active, he was a lengthy long defender. This year, our team is more physical, we’ve slowed things down quite a bit, used more of the shot clock quite a bit, it is just different.”

Bryant on his role as a scorer going into the playoffs with this team: “It entirely depends on the defense and how they play me. I will let them pick and choose how I’m going to play. If they double and come quickly then I’m going to kick it and facilitate my other guys. If they want to play me straight up certain stretches of the game, then I’m going to work and do what I do. I let them pick their poison.”

Bryant on the changes he has made during his career: “I think it is a growth period; once you come into the NBA you have to find out what your game is going to be. How are you going to develop, what is going to be your identity and how is the team going to be able to adjust to it on a nightly basis. It took me a little while to figure out what my game was going to be. I went through periods where I changed throughout the years but the important thing is to be as consistent as you can.”

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