CHICAGO – For two players who have stressed patience throughout this long and arduous season, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are recognizing the urgency this needs to end.
The Lakers’ 95-83 loss Monday to the Chicago Bulls didn’t just extend the team’s losing streak (three) or poor road record (5-13). The venue just brought a visible reminder that Bryant’s far from reaching that sixth championship to tie Michael Jordan.
“I am a big history guy,” Bryant said. “Playing here in this arena with these incredible fans, you’re in the house [that] M.J., [Scottie] Pippen, P.J. built. To put this kind of brand of basketball on the floor is just not acceptable.”
If only Bryant had Phil Jackson to figure things out. Instead, the Lakers chose Mike D’Antoni and his up-tempo offense. It hasn’t worked. The Lakers have gone 12-19 under his watch and are far from matching the 110-115 points he boldly predicted the team would score each game. They’ve only achieved that feat eight times.
“I’ve got it down to about 70 [points], so we’re working on it,” D’Antoni said with a hint of sarcasm. “We’re going the wrong way. There’s just not a lot of flow. It’s just not good movement. Just tough. It’s agonizing to watch.”
Bryant wasn’t the only player upset after shooting seven of 22 from the field and marking his third game that he shot below 50 percent. Howard told reporters to “look at the stat sheet” to explain why he posted only five points on 2 of 5 shooting, nine rebounds and four turnovers.
“It’s simple. Play inside-out,” Howard said. “There’s not nothing I can do. Just continue to play. Not get frustrated. As hard as it is, I can’t get frustrated.”
Yet, the Lakers are continuing to show such signs after falling to 12th place in the Western Conference.
Pau Gasol expressed unhappiness with coming off the bench. Howard looked disengaged on the court. Bryant looked upset after he threw a jump pass that hit Howard in the back.
“It seems like the harder we try, the faster we fall,” Howard said. “We just got to figure out a way to stay strong throughout all the crap that’s keeping us down. It’s tough. It’s tough as a team, it’s tough as individuals because we want to do so good. But, it’s frustrating. The only thing we can do is keep looking up and try to pull ourselves up.”
To do that, Bryant suggests D’Antoni needs to make change parts of his system.
“We’ll really have to self assess and look at what we’re doing,” Bryant said. “We’ll make some adjustments and change some things.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org