Below is Kobe Bryant’s 15-minute interview with the media following the Lakers’ 100-94 loss Tuesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On the loss
The coaches I played for in the past, they taught me to deal with in any situation is not to get overly emotional about it. But try to think about the game. Look at the things and areas we’re weak at and transition points, turnovers, which I’m guilty of. We have to look at those things and try to correct those things.
On him scoring so many of the team’s points
It really just depends on how the defense is playing. They put me in positions to try to make the defense make a decision or make a choice. It’s really on them on what happens in the course of the game.
What I have to do and what Dwight has to do is try to put them in positions to be successful and try to get them to open opportunities when they present themselves. That’s all we can ask for. On top of that, what I’ll have to do and Dwight will have to do is after we kick the ball and the shot goes up, instead of going back on defense, we got to crash the glass. We have to pick our teammates up. If we’re not hitting shots, we have to go in and hit the offensive rebounds and help them out. That way we can continue to shoot the ball with confidence and continue to get more possessions.
How these struggles compare to other seasons
This is the toughest stretch. This is the most challenging stretch that I’ve been in my 17 years. Most baffling too.
On why turnovers and transition defensive issues keep persisting
The turnovers, I have to make better decisions. I had three of them where I tried to throw in the post to Dwight. Whether I’m not properly reading the man behind them or he gets a little frustrated because they swim over the top of them or deflect the balls and the couple of guys they made the adjustment on holding the guy off. Then he falls back and gets an offensive foul. He doesn’t know how to quite play it. I have to do a better job taking care of the ball.
On Kyrie Irving
When we were matched up on the top of the floor, you can feel the whole building get behind that. Defensively, I try to take a stand. He’s a fantastic player.
On the Lakers’ struggles
It’s extremely extremely frustrating. We really just have to correct the issues we have. We can be two completely different teams. In the first half, we were a horrible team. In the second half we come out and hold them to 36 points in the second half and hitting free throws at the end? It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I don’t know if we’re too old and it takes us time to get started and lathered up. It’s two completely different teams.
On how he explains the losses
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it to be really honest with you.
I just drive, keep driving and go harder and harder. But I don’t understand it. Last year in the playoffs we got beat by transition points. This year, its’ still an achiless eelfor us. I don’t know if we’re too slow of a team and need to change things up a little bit and play a slower game. I don’t know what the answer is.
If Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Steve Blake returning will solve all the Lakers’ issues
I don’t think so. Those issues are still there. With Steve and Pau in the lineup, we still didn’t win a damn preseason game. Transition defense problems will still be there. Pau is not the fastest guy in the world. Neither is Steve. We have to figure out a way to solve those two issues.
If Mike D’Antoni will change his system to meet what the personnel needs
He’s savvy enough and smart enough to read those things and make those adjustments. I don’t get the impression he’s a do it my way type of coach. He’s still trying to figure things out. It’s been a hell of a year from one coaching staff to another, one offense to a whole other offense with a new head coach and brings his one assistant.
On how he processes the loss
It doesn’t make any sense. Transition points are killing us. Dwight has a 20 20 game.
On what mindset the team is lacking
What I told the guys during a timeout in the second half. Don’t get discouraged. Get determined. When things are hard, get more determined about things. Don’t hang your head and say here we go again. Get more determined. Go harder. That’s all we can do.
We’re not right now. But it’s my job to be as perfect as I can be. If they’re not playing well, I got to minimize my mistakes and I got to be better. It’s as simple as that.
More on Irving
He’s a bad boy. He can play. He’s a first guard that I’ve seen can finish at the rim like Rod Strickland used to. He was very crafty around the basket. Kyrie has some of that with them.
On how he leads the team moving forward
The way I’ve been trained is really think about the execution and the X’s and O’s and errors we’re committing and try to correct them. That’s the only way I know I can do about it.
On his frustrations
I’m very upset. But like I said, I’ve been through tough situations in the past and I’d always blow my top and go crazy. Then I had a head coach who always kept calm and always focused on the X’s and O’s of things and I learned from that. I’m trying to do the same thing here. But I won’t lie. They’re really messing with my Zen shit. They’re trying trying my patients with that zen thing. We have the personnel and talent to do it. Why we’re not doing it is pretty baffling. I’ll give it a lot of thought. The one thing about this organization is there are a lot of great players who came before you that are always one phone call away. I have no problem picking up the phone, talking to them and getting some advice.
On Magic Johnson saying Pau Gasol should be able to play more in the post Gasol should definitely be in the post. There’s no question about it. I agree with that 100 percent. Gasol is one of the best, if not the best, post player in the game. When he gets back, we’ll definitely use him there. When Steve gets back we’ll do a lot of running and things of that nature and have showtime and try to do that. We’ll try to do showtime thing and get up and down the floor. When they are in halfcourt, they do a really good job.
On the team adapting to the faster speed needed in D’Antoni’s system
We’re slow as hell. I’m one of the fastest guys on the team and I’m 50. Fast breaks isn’t about speed you have and more so the timing. If you don’t have a fast break, we def could use our size. That’s where our strength is with Dwight. Dwight is doing a great job posting and finding guys. When he gets double teamed, he remains patient and find shooters and makes plays. He had a monster game tonight. It’s going to come.
On the loss
I have a good feeling about it for whatever reason. I just think for whatever reason we’re going through this. We have to dig deep. When it rains it pours, it seems like we get within a stretch there and they make long distance fall away threes at the buzzer and shot clock. It’s one of those things.
On the team getting frustrated
To break that, you have to be extremely determined. You have to change momentum and the energy of the things. When things start snowballing, it takes a lot of momentum to stop that. It takes a lot of motivation and persistence to do that.
On D’Antoni taking offense that he hasn’t taught enough defense
I’ll give the calmer response. Our defense wasn’t bad In the first half there were miscues in the first half that made things worse than what we were. Our half court defense was solid. We talked about it and knew the rotations we wanted to make and the energy in the second half was much better. I don’t know if its an emotional thing or physical thing. Sometiems it takes time to warm up and seems like we got the Scooby Doo syndrome where it takes five seconds for us to take off.
On Kobe watching cartoons lately
(Laughs) Something has to keep me in a good mood.
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