- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant laughed incredulously after practice Thursday when a reporter showed him a video on his cellphone from the waning moments of the Los Angeles Lakers' 95-86 loss to the Utah Jazz.
The video, commonly dubbed "The Kobe Death Stare" on the Internet, has 986,000 results come up when searched for on Google. It shows Bryant seething in anger on the bench during a timeout late in the fourth quarter Wednesday and Bryant's unblinking eyes after Lakers coach Mike Brown walks in front of the star guard's view.
Bryant admitted he felt anger and frustration with the Lakers off to a 1-4 start for the first time in his 17-year career, but that people shouldn't read too much into the viral video.
"I don't give a (expletive) how it was interpreted," Bryant said. "It doesn't really matter to me. I'm too old to deal with that stuff. I really am. I've been (Brown's) biggest supporter. So, I'm really too old to be dealing with childish things."
Added Bryant: "God, people are bored."
Boredom probably wouldn't be the most common emotion Lakers fans are feeling these days. Most seem to be panicking or fed up, or both. Meanwhile, Lakers players and coaches are trying to block out any outside pressure.
"Right now, there's a lot of noise," said Dwight Howard, who has managed to play well individually (22.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks on 67.8 percent shooting) despite L.A.'s rough start. "We're trying to figure out how to play with each other. We're trying to figure out where we're going to get our shots. Everybody is trying to just figure each other out and how we can put this thing together. So, once the noise is settled, we can all just have a clear mind. We'll be fine."
Howard turned the Lakers' inner sanctuary of the practice facility into his personal pulpit Thursday when he addressed the team.
"I told the guys after practice today that we just got to stick together, still come in here every day and work hard and fight through this phase," Howard said. "I gave them a little scripture: 'The first should be last and the last should be first.' "
Howard was referring to the Bible verse Matthew 19:30 that states, "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
It seems appropriate for the Lakers, who are not only last in the Pacific Division but have the worst record in the Western Conference.
Lakers co-captain Pau Gasol said the team was "very close to the place we want to be," despite the fact Los Angeles ranks just 19th in the league in points allowed per game and 20th in opponent field-goal percentage.
"We're trying to encourage positivism around us," Gasol said, using a word that former coach Phil Jackson might have uttered. "We're going through a tough stretch right now. We knew we were going to face some adversity. We didn't predict it was going to be early on, but at the same time, I think it's going to help us down the road to face it, hopefully, now and not later."
To help foster that "positivism," Brown decided against having a film session Thursday looking back at the Utah game that would have showed the Lakers cough up 19 turnovers and shoot just 4 of 23 on 3-point attempts.
"I'm a film junkie. I love to watch film and love to show film, but we don't need to do it every day," Brown said. "There were a lot of things -- as crazy as this sounds -- there were a lot of things that we did right last night, and so for me, I just wanted to come out and let's get warmed up and let's practice."
Staying on the positive side of things, Bryant said his right foot and ankle was feeling "a lot, lot better" and Steve Nash (fractured fibula) went through dribbling and shooting drills with Lakers development coach Phil Handy as well as some medicine-ball activities with strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco.
"From what they tell me, there's no timetable," Brown said of Nash, who is scheduled to be re-evaluated Saturday. "It's kind of day to day based on how (the trainers) feel and how he feels."
Also going in the Lakers' favor is their schedule. Their next six games are at home, starting Friday against the Golden State Warriors.
"Guys still believe," Brown said. "For us, that's the biggest thing right now, especially while we're trying to find our way."
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