The Lakers are now 0-2 with Kobe Bryant back, and they clearly have some things to work out. They were shooting over 40% from beyond the arc in the last seven games, but since Bryant returned, they have failed to reach over 33%. That has a lot to do with Bryant holding the ball, and with the other players not being used to him on the court. Over time, it will get better.
Mike D’Antoni knows it will take some time to get everyone adjusted, and he says it’s up to them to figure it out,via ESPN LA:
“We hoped we would win at home and then maybe have some problems [later],” D’Antoni said. “I’m not out of my mind just because we’re struggling. I knew we could, that could happen, it’s going to be up to the coaching staff and players to figure this out.”
D’Antoni has been preaching cuts and movement since Bryant’s return. Kobe’s teammates have sat back and watched him in the past, but that doesn’t bode well in D’Antoni’s offense.
The offense wasn’t the issue last night for the Lakers, as the Suns ran all over them, and got whatever they wanted. They will have to improve defensively if they want to win games, and D’Antoni knows that:
“We’re going to have to man up a little bit more,” D’Antoni said. “We’re going to have to toughen up. It’s going to have to be a dogfight out there for a while.”
He wasn’t done bringing home his point.
“Defense is communicating, talking and almost spitting blood out there,” D’Antoni said. “There’s got to be a little more urgency in our game. It’s like you play good defense and somebody doesn’t box out and there goes an offensive rebound. It just deflates you.”
This is basically another preseason for the Lakers, and they should improve as time goes on.