Nobody on the Lakers likes to lose, but at the same time, having ripped off 17 wins in 18 tries, including nine in a row entering Sunday's game against the Nuggets at Staples, the freak out quotient was appropriately low inside the locker room despite L.A.'s failure to make it 18 of 19.
Sometimes the other team wins.
Still, there's an interesting interplay at work. Intellectually, players know they won't win every game, so does it become even a little easier to accept a loss after a long winning streak? Because, for lack of a better term, you're due? No, not so much. "In my opinion, each game is kind of its own life. It's own existence. When you win nine games or 10 games in a row, or however many games, they're all independent of each other," said Derek Fisher. "Obviously you start to get some momentum and you start feeling good about how you're playing, but winning a game two days ago has no bearing on winning or losing a game two days later."
"I think you go into every game, at least in our locker room, believing that you can win every time you can go out, and I don't think you ever expect to lose or plan to say we've got one coming. It's not really how we look at it," he said.
Sunday, the Lakers weren't able to get things going offensively throughout most of the game, and turned the ball over far too much in the second half, contributing to serious defensive breakdowns. Credit, too, a strong Denver team having now won 15 of 19 since the big Carmelo Anthony deal. "We shot ourselves in the foot in a lot of situations, but anytime you lose, regardless of the circumstances you always have to give your opponent credit for beating you. We beat ourselves, and they put it on top of us and took advantage," Fisher said.
Kobe Bryant echoed Fisher's sentiments, noting anytime the Lakers lose it's always a combination of quality play from the opponent and mistakes on their part, but made note of how good the Nuggets are, post-Melo. "[I'm] surprised that they're this good, but you look at their lineup; they essentially have two starting fives," he said. "That second group that comes off the bench, that’s a legitimate starting five in this league."
Had there not been a couple crews broadcasting live, Kobe might well have been a little saucier with some of the answers you'll see in the video below, but it's clear he's not too concerned about Sunday's loss. Listen, too, for his comments about Tex Winter, who will finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame. (I had to stop Kobe's last answer short, but you'll likely be able to fill in the blanks. These things need to stay safe for work, though to his credit Kobe did try to go as PG as possible...)
Click below for postgame reaction from Fisher, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom.
Fisher, on the "new" Nuggets, and what the Lakers did to hurt themselves Sunday afternoon:
Odom, on Denver, the ORB and putback from Kenyon Martin late in the game, and more:
Incidentally, he didn't wear it for the cameras (too hot, I suppose), but Odom's Sunday ensemble was capped by a very slick blue/white seersucker jacket. Bold choice, I thought.
Gasol, on his knee (seems fine) and what the Nuggets did well: