Following the Lakers’ 103-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year’s Day, Kobe Bryant had a simple answer for what’s been plaguing 15-16 L.A. this season: age.
“Cause we’re old as s—,” said the 34-year-old Bryant when asked why a lack of energy has been a problem for the Lakers all season.
“What do you want? We just got to figure out the best way to play when we don’t have that energy. We got to change things up a little bit defensively. We got to figure out what we wish to do offensively, figure out what we want to do on nights when we don’t have those legs or have that energy.”
The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Lakers primarily with the contributions of 22-year-old Jrue Holiday (26 points, 10 assists) and 24-year-old Evan Turner (22 points, 13 rebounds).
“You just saw an old damn team,” Bryant continued. “I do not know how else to put it to you. We are just slow. You saw a team over there that was just younger and just had fresher legs and just played with more energy, and we were just stuck in the mud. I think individually we all have to figure out how to get ourselves prepared every game to have a high level of energy. That’s all that is.”
While saddled by such circumstances, Bryant’s belief the Lakers can make the playoffs and compete for a championship remains unshaken.
“I don’t think there’s a doubt about that,” he announced in a radio show when questioned if the team is built for the playoffs. “The problem is we’ve dug ourselves such a deep hole we got to do a lot of fighting just to catch up and get in that conversation. We firmly believe it will happen but we have to do lots of fighting just to get there.”
The Lakers are 9½ games behind the 25-7 Clippers in the Pacific Division and are 10th in the Western Conference, 1½ games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the 8th and last playoff spot. The Lakers can cut into that deficit when they played the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
“It’s very deep, we’re really concern but we’ve been playing well lately,” Bryant asserted in explaining his level of concern for the Lakers. “The last 8 games we have been playing pretty well but the hole we dug ourselves at the start is very deep, so every loss now cuts a touch deeper than it should. So we have to keep focused on how we’ve been playing lately and just continuing to get better from that.” Baseball spreads
Following last Tuesday’s loss, Bryant, who has managed to lead the league in scoring in this, his 17th season, asserted every player has to learn how to create energy individually.
“It’s figuring it out,” Bryant related. “That’s a big thing when you’re starting to age, is figuring out how it is possible to get yourself ready game in and game out. It’s tough. It takes a lot, a lot of commitment.”