“‘Cause we’re old as s—,” Bryant, 34, said to the gathering of media following another Los Angeles Lakers loss, this one 102-99 to the Philadelphia 76ers at home Tuesday night.
And he hardly was done.
“What do you want?” he added. “We just got to figure out how 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 want to do offensively, figure out what we want to do on nights when we don’t have those legs or have that energy.”
Thos night have been plenty so far this season for the 14-15 Lakers. Bryant has been brilliant, leading the league in scoring at 31 points a game. He score 36 against Philly, but his teammates lagged behind the younger, faster Sixers.
“You just saw an old damn team,” Bryant went on. “I don’t know how else to put it to you. We’re 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 ready each and every game to have high level of energy. That’s all that is.”
Bryant did not absolve anyone from the team’s issues.
“It’s figuring it out,” Bryant said. “That’s a big thing when you’re starting to age, is figuring out how to get yourself ready game in and game out. It’s tough. It takes a lot, a lot of commitment.”
The frustration was evident in how long Bryant spoke on the issue and the edge in his words.
“We didn’t seem to have any energy,” he said. “You watch the game. We were kind of sluggish, kind of stuck in the mud. When we have games like that, everything is an uphill battle for us. When we play fresh, when we play energized, we’re a completely, completely different team. You saw a lot of those shots tonight falling short, for whatever reason. We got to get the proper rest and get ready for Friday.”
Center Dwight Howard was among those who did not possess the quickness and speed to match up with the spry 76ers. He’s coming off back surgery and still is not where he would like to be.
On Howard, Bryant said: “It’s really been frustrating for him because dealing with the injury and trying to come back and expectations that we all have for him. It’s tough to deal with that when you’re not physically the same player that you were a few years ago. It’s been frustrating for him, but to his credit, he’s been battling through it and he’s been finding ways to be effective. I mean, he had five blocks tonight.”
“We’re not the most athletic team in the league; we know that,” all-star Pau Gasol said. “But we are experienced and we should create some energy for ourselves out there, and I think it starts by us talking to each other, by communicating, by letting our team really know that we’re there [on defense], and that will create some energy that we need on that end of the floor.”