When it came to assigning blame for the Lakers’ 117-110 loss Sunday to the Utah Jazz, Mike D’Antoni didn’t utter a single name.
D’Antoni avoided singling out Kobe Bryant’s questionable effort on defense. D’Antoni deflected questions about Dwight Howard’s frustrations to the Lakers center. D’Antoni, for once, didn’t even invoke the Steve Nash’s continual absence.
Instead, D’Antoni questioned the team’s collective effort after seeing Utah post 54 points in the paint, 23 second-chance points and 19 points in transition. In four of the Lakers’ past five losses, the game blew open because of a poor quarter. Against Utah, that happened when the Jazz stormed out to an 8-0 lead and then ended halftime with a 60-51 cushion.
“I just don’t think we have a gut check moment yet,” D’Antoni said. “At some point, we have to draw a line in the sand and that’s it. You have to fight. We’re not doing it.”
But this was hardly a case of D’Antoni completely laying it into his team. He also pointed the finger back at himself.
“I have to take responsibility to get them to play hard,” D’Antoni said. :I have a bad knee and have a hard time getting up and down. But it’s my responsibility to get them to the mentality where they’re playing hard.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.