Bryant has stern words after loss
1st-round elimination for 3rd straight year 'extremely frustrating' for star
Jason P. Skoda
The Arizona Republic
May. 3, 2007 12:00 AM
Even though the big trend in Hollywood this summer is making money off sequels, the Los Angeles Lakers are nowhere near producing a second edition of the team that made three straight NBA Finals, winning twice, from 2000-02.
And the star is not happy.
"Do something and do it now," Kobe Bryant said of the importance of the off-season after the Suns eliminated the Lakers on Wednesday night. "I don't know what to do, but it is extremely frustrating. We are going on three years of still being on ground zero."
The Lakers showed some guts playing their way back into a 119-110 loss in Game 5, but it is still a team that was outmanned at nearly every position and started a point guard - Jordan Farmar - who was in the developmental league for parts of the season.
Twice before Game 5, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked about the team's future. He said it wasn't the time for that discussion.
It was good etiquette, but it probably also had something to do with the reality of the Lakers' deterioration since Shaquille O'Neal made the trip to Miami.
"Last year we showed we could finish a season," Jackson said. "We didn't finish and we didn't have the kind of cohesion I like with my teams. I told them we will make changes."
The Lakers have been knocked out in the first round the past three years and it may stay that way for while. Consider that with less than nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Suns' Amaré Stoudemire had two points and Steve Nash had three assists.
That lines up to be nothing but good news for the Lakers yet they fell behind by 11 moments later when Stoudemire hammered home his first dunk of the game.
Los Angeles made a game of it in the second half, cutting a 12-point halftime deficit to five early in the fourth quarter. But almost doesn't cut it.
"It's difficult to deal with losing anytime, but we know we can play with this team when we are healthy," forward Luke Walton said. "We showed that at the beginning of the year and it was hard to see it just fade away."
The Lakers began the year at 26-13 before injuries zapped the team of its talent, but the downfall has been going on for a while. Los Angeles had two wins over playoff teams since mid-March and won just 13 of its last 28 games.
"Let's see what direction we want to go this off-season," Bryant said. "Make those steps and make them now."
So...they need a PG? maybe that JO + JT for Bynum et al trade makes some sense afterall.
(But do I really wanna help the *@#%$%& Lakers even a tiny bit???)