When the dust settled after what can rightly be called the worst of the Lakers' 11 losses this season, an embarrassing 104-85 debacle on their home floor vs. Memphis, Andrew Bynum summed things up well:
"We kind of get into these situations, and put ourselves into these situations where there's a snowball effect. We're not playing for each other right now. We're not playing to set the next man up, and consequently, that's definitely causing us faults on defense," he said. "Right now, we've got to be concerned. We have to be. Teams coming in here, three straight times we get dropped by 20 at home, good teams are looking at us like, "Oh, they're soft." We're letting everybody come in here and get comfortable. Guys like Darrell Arthur just catching the ball, almost at the three point line, turning around and shooting it like he does it every day. We've got to stop that."
Technically, the Lakers only lost by 19 (Milwaukee), 16 (Miami) and 19 (Memphis) at home- three of the team's four worst home losses since acquiring Pau Gasol, it should be noted- but I think we'll all forgive Bynum his minor numerical inaccuracy, instead focusing on his larger point.
Kobe Bryant agreed with Bynum's assessment of teammates not "playing for each other," but believes the cause is a natural extension of the team's poor play. "That happens a lot when guys are out of rhythm. Out of rhythm, out of sync with each other. You don't know really what is the right play to make, because you're thinking too much as opposed to just making the play that's there. That just comes from rhythm," he said.
Click below for more from Bynum, plus Bryant, Phil Jackson, Matt Barnes, Pau Gasol, and Joe Smith...
More from Bynum, on (among other things) a lack of communication on the floor, along with major problems with execution:
Kobe, on the game, his scoring burst in the third quarter, and more:
Jackson, on what went wrong Sunday: "The game got to a point where we didn't use our strengths, which is our inside players. Pau gets nine shots in the course of a game. Some of it is his own responsibility, but we didn't use that focus that we have in a ballgame... As a result [of not effectively using interior play], we get behind early in the third quarter on some stupid plays. Poor passing, poor transition defense, and then Kobe has to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one on one. That takes the rest of the guys out, and as a consequence that didn't bring us back in, but it did give us a little run. We got the game back a little bit, but we couldn't sustain it. We just went right back and made the same mistakes again."
(There will be people Monday morning gathered around the water cooler talking about how P.J. said Kobe screwed up Sunday's game. In context, it's not really what he was getting at, from my view as a guy standing in the room. I took it as Jackson saying Bryant had to exit- or "screw up," scramble, scuttle, whatever term you prefer- the game plan in order to try and get the team, totally lacking in energy, back into it. It worked to a point, though there were consequences, and the Lakers then squandered whatever boost Bryant provided.
Kobe-or-bust clearly isn't Jackson's preferred method of attack- nor mine, for what it's worth- and with cause, but he was hardly tossing 24 under the bus, and laid plenty of blame on the team as a whole. That was my take, but watch the video and decide for yourself.)
Gasol, on his performance, along with the team's. "The coaches are giving us a game plan, and we're not executing it very well."
Joe Smith, on working his way into the team's system:
Matt Barnes, who said he was "at a loss for words," on the practice schedule, a lack of effort, and that too many things are "sliding by:"
Gasol, on playing together: "We've got to count on each other. This is a team, and we've got to get each other going. We've got to be there for our teammates- next to each other- and that's how you overcome tough times."
Lamar Odom, on what went wrong with tonight's game: "When you lose you could think of a million things going wrong. That's why it's important, even when you win, to try to fix things, you know? Point things out. You're not playing to potential, or good basketball as a team. And that's important, you can't look at a game you lose and be like, "Oh, what happened?" A million things happened. So we've got to look even at the games we win and try to get better."
Jackson, asked if he sees a lack of urgency as a problem: "I wouldn't use that term, lack of urgency. I would just say they came out tonight and got outworked by a team that played last night, lost in Utah, had to fly back in here for a ballgame, and I think we took for granted the fact that we've been beaten in Memphis and everybody is going to come out here and play better. But no one took responsibility on themselves to play better."