Grumpy Kobe Delivers Win, Message

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DALLAS –
 Of scoring 78 points to pull out two mandatory, down-to-the-wire wins in the last three days, Kobe Bryant said he’s now transitioned into “grumpy mode.”

“And that’s probably not going to change until after June,” said Kobe, who dropped 14 of his game-high 38 points in Sunday’s fourth quarter against the equally desperate Mavericks. “It’s not good for those who are around me frequently, but hopefully the result will be a good one.”

Hey, no need to tell Dwight Howard. Kobe’s been kicking over his sandcastle since October.

Even when Kobe’s answering a question that has nothing to do with the Lakers’ big man, it seems the Mamba has a message to deliver, however indirectly. That appeared to be the case after the 103-99 win when Kobe was asked if he’s appreciative of the way the Lakers have committed massive money under this more punitive collective bargaining agreement to try to maximize his final seasons — a noted contrast to the strategy Mavs owner Mark Cuban has taken with his club.

“Very appreciative,” Kobe started.

And then Kobe sensed an opening, it seemed, to fixate on the 6-foot-11 potential Lakers cornerstone talking to reporters at the other end of the visitors locker room.

Kobe continued:

“This is one of those franchises, they really take care of their own. They make it a family atmosphere and they really, for those who sacrifice for the organization, play well for the organization, play hard, commit to them, they really do a good job of returning the favor.”

But hey, maybe Kobe was just speaking in generalities, you know, to future free agents who might come aboard.

In the same breath, Kobe complimented Howard’s effort Sunday even though he struggled with early foul trouble and never got going offensively with nine points on 2-for-9 shooting. Howard, who did make three of four free throws late, played solidly on the defensive end, getting two steals and a block, altering other shots and grabbing 13 rebounds in 33 minutes.

“He was fantastic,” said Kobe, who had 12 rebounds and fell three assists shy of a triple-double. “Offensively, we all have a tough night shooting every now and then. He was getting bumped down low and I felt like there were calls being overlooked, but the ball just didn’t go in for him tonight. But he gets those looks the majority of the games, he’s going to put those in the hole. But still, in all, he competed, chased a lot of shots, very active in the screen and roll.

“Dwight really altered the game for us defensively.”

So maybe, just maybe, there’s some budding, if not begrudging, camaraderie going on here. And maybe this little run the Lakers find themselves on, winning three in a row and 8-3 in February to climb to one game under .500 (28-29) for the first time since being 15-16 on Jan. 1, can be trusted.

Grumpy Kobe: “We’re there now. It’s just a matter of putting it together in time to make a good run.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni, acknowledging concern because of the deep hole his team dug, still puffed out his chest: “I’m confident enough, like the rest of them in that locker room, that we can beat anybody any time, anywhere.”

It sounds good, but the Lakers still needed some good fortune at home to fend off Portland, a non-playoff team that’s fast sliding down the West standings. And although the Mavs (25-30) have been winning more recently and Dirk Nowitzki, who had a season-high 30 points and 13 rebounds Sunday, is playing much better, Dallas didn’t look particularly playoff-ready in its two previous wins against bottom-feeders Orlando and New Orleans.

So maybe Steve Nash, adjusting to his own strange season playing off the ball almost has much as he’s got it, is the realist here with 25 games to go and still 2 1/2 games to make up on the eighth-place Rockets.

“I don’t think we’ve really found an identity yet,” said Nash, who played through back pain Sunday and had four assists with 20 points, including a critical 3-pointer when Kobe passed out of a double-team with 1:44 to go for a 99-95 lead. “We have a number of different ways that we play and we’re still trying to find our identity.”

Monday night, the Lakers end a daunting back-to-back in Denver’s thin air where the Nuggets will look to make the Lakers’ lungs burn more than the L.A. smog. Then come home games against down-and-out Minnesota and Atlanta before another a big road challenge at Oklahoma City on March 5.

“They’re all playoff games for us,” Kobe stressed.

This odd season has brought us Kobe the volume scorer, Kobe the facilitator and now Kobe the grump. The latter has carried the Lakers to these last two wins, and apparently isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“It’s just what I’m supposed to do, honestly,” Kobe said. “It’s about that time. I’m kind of going through a process of facilitating and things like that, and now it’s time to put the whole thing together.”

We shall see.

51 Comments

  1. The only thing i give cuban props is him getting on the refs. Being die hard Celtics fan i see refs making bad calls all the time, a lil-well-way too much, strange how it’s consistently w/ the Celts? Then again cuban complains when mavs don’t get a finger nail foul call, something him & kobe (the complainer to the refs guy while other team scores) have in common-hence=2 drama queens-a match made in heaven!

  2. Lakerfan2013 says:

    What a season for kobe averaging 27ppg 5rpg and 6apg at 34 years old and about to score 31,000pts. Only Jordan could have done that besides the 31K which he could have achieved if he didn’t go play baseball.

  3. TakeMeOutDumbToni says:

    @kabayo sounds like he’s talking to his face already..@Kinantot ko asawa ni Kobe sounds like a real loser haha.

  4. zgillet says:

    The argument for trading Gasol just keeps getting less stupid.

    • Lakerfan2013 says:

      I’ve wanted to trade Gasol since the middle of last year but they never do it. If they had traded him for Luol Deng at the start of the season they wouldn’t be in this mess.

  5. Shady says:

    Some guy said the refs were gonna get us to the post season…My dude, if we were getting some kind of treatment from the refs we wouldn’t be trying to get that 8th or 7th seed in the 1st place

  6. Kinantot ko asawa ni Kobe says:

    like what kobe said before he is not afraid to OKC SPurs nuggets… lols… He ain’t afraid to them because they won’t reach the playoffs… He didn’t mention the HEAT… He just said DWade and LBJ are great players…. HEAT-lakers close game??? maybe 99-90 and 97-107 are close games??? doesn’t matter you can win it by a hundred points or just 1 point… win is always a win… You cannot change that… As far as I could remember… before the preseason starts laker fans crowned them already as a 2013 champs… Metta add some spice to it by declaring that their team can break 72-10 record… Lot of people expect that they are battling for top spot in the WEST, not crawling to make 8 seed… They are the one who put themselves into the MUD… or should I say ALL Bark No Bite….

  7. TS says:

    Remember that Wonder Year’s song? Have a little help from my friends?
    The Lakers are getting that from NBA referees right now.

  8. kabayo says:

    And yeah, stop with copy/pasting what Kobe re-tweeted, you make it obvious you’re nothing but 2nd/3rd-rate trying hard copycats like your idol Kobe. And yeah, like Dwight Howard too, wannabe Shaq. All he is a star of now is out of Shaqtin-a-fool!

  9. kabayo says:

    whoa whoa whoa! hold your horses! What the Lakers beat the last 2 games are teams that also have losing records, like them. To celebrate these kinds of victories is good, but to say that they’re back on track just because they got lucky on the portland game, and then Kobe got lucky with those ill-advised shots vs Dallas is just blind fanaticism! Steve Nash is right, they don’t have an identity and they just sort of rely on luck with those wins. So NO, I say Lakers still doesn’t have what it takes to make the playoffs this year

  10. Hammy says:

    i believe in THE KOBE-STER!!!

  11. TakeMeOutDumbToni says:

    yeah cuban amnesty that…(kobe d mamba) in your face…

  12. Lakers#1 says:

    If the Lakers could sign Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in the summer the purple and gold would be set for serious championship level the next five years!

    If so, then trade away Gasol, World Peace, Blake, Duhon and Ebanks. Keep Nash as backup PG and outside shooter for 30 minutes per game. Keep Clark, Jamison, Meeks and Hill. Get younger more athletic role players to fill the roster.

  13. Rabags says:

    Told ya, Lakers are on the roll! That tribute for the late Dr. Buss, was the wake-up call for the team especially Howard despite only 9 points due to early foul trouble. Surely they will enter the Playoffs and once there, they will be the team to beat. They have done it before, they can do it again and again and will be crowned 2013 Champions. Go Lakers!

  14. SamTheKobester says:

    Are you kidding me? Lakers are def gonna make it to playoffs. And they are going to win the NBA championship

  15. manny_nashfan says:

    go lakers. nice kobe…kick out the ball to nash in crunch time…

  16. SHAQKOBE says:

    trade HOWARD to TYSON CHANDLER… much better

  17. SaYO says:

    im a die hard kobe fan
    but this is gna be interesting! lol
    not the article, but the teams their facing within the month,
    they beat OKC at home
    but this is an away game now
    lets go lakers

  18. purpngold says:

    Kobe is on a mission right now. Possesed with the will to win. He had another spectacular game, although I dont know how long he can keep this up. The rest of the team is starting to come around and compete more. I feel the sense of urgency finally aknowledged by the rest of the team. Its just a matter of time before the Lakers find their complete identidy and really get it rolling. Then, watchout!
    GO LAKERS..

  19. Mamba says:

    Good job Kobe!

  20. nbafanhere says:

    they need to hope that the Rockets or jazz would struggle in order for them to enter the playoffs.. but it would be a first round elim. anyway for them if they make it/.

  21. Laker fan 2012 says:

    He has been great but lebrons been way too good for Kobe to win MVP.

    • Lakersfan4ever says:

      I don’t think Kobe cares if Queen James Win all the MVP’s, he rather win the championship than be an MVP, unlike James.

  22. King Po says:

    Kobe is the man. He is one of the best that the game has ever seen. His competitive nature is off the chart. He bring his A game every night since he entered the league, he is giving guys the business on a daily basis. I don’t love him, but I recognize that he is the best in the business. I give respect where respect is due. We need more guys committed to wining like him to make this league interesting like it used to be in Jordan, Barkley, Ewing, Miller etc. days where guys played to win and gave it their all, rather than being so friendly to the opponent like these youngsters are these days.

  23. fsm says:

    100% lakers will make yet to the playoff….and for sure you guys gonna surprise for that team…that team gonna be a champ this year…..LAKERS all day long

  24. jonski22 says:

    i love the Lakers make it to the play-off..by then it will be a different story…but Utah, The Warriors, and the Rockets looks likes in a good place….a string of loses to them..and string of wins for the Lakers..will do it..but it’s going to be hard..good luck to Lakers!..and Kobe is great….

  25. fanof24 says:

    Lakers can not enter the playoffs if houston or utah never loose

  26. KObee says:

    Greatest Of All Time

  27. Harvey Specter says:

    well done Kobe.

  28. googergieger says:

    No the refs are the difference right now. It is rather obvious. Not even the slightest bit of subtlety with it. Come Monday I’m one thousand percent sure Lakers will get more free throw attempts and be allowed to beat up on the Nuggets, even though Denver will attack the paint more than double the amount of times the Lakers do, all the while getting slapped, kicked, grabbed, and spat on, with the refs ready to give out technicals to Denver just for them rolling their eyes to the staged production the NBA has turned into, while all the real fans pray and hope for the day the sport can turn back into a real sport, where the best team wins and not the most profitable one does.

    *waits for comment not to be approved*

    • Lakerfan2013 says:

      They’re playing in Denver not in LA, and I seem to remember the last time the Lakers played in Denver the Reffing was horrible. Remember it was the game that DH12 got ejected.

  29. sid says:

    HATERS WILL ALWAYS GONNA HATE!!! tsk tsk tsk…

  30. The two DRAMA QUEENS are a match made in heaven! :)

  31. RSS vs RSS says:

    A great win today and we need to maintain that same caliber each and every game………Lakers all day everyday

  32. Cjwiley says:

    LAKERS DEFF MAKING THE PLAYOFFS

    • fanof24 says:

      Lakers can not enter the playoffs IF Houston or Utah are unconquerable

      • Jones17 says:

        Lakers have to win every game against close playoff rivals and hope Houston/Utah lose to each other and teams around them also. It’s very possible but chances are slim unless they keep this form up until the end of the season. Even then, Kobe, Dwight & Nash will have loads of wear and tear. At least Pau should be ‘fresh’ if not fully fit.

  33. Kb24 says:

    What greatness showed from Kobe.
    We still believe!

  34. Charles Barkley says:

    Kobe for MVP

  35. Edub says:

    That is not good. Kobe almost going for a triple double every night? While scoring 30+ points in the process?

  36. Patty says:

    AS NOWITZKI SAID: ” KOBE BRYANT been the best player in my decade,” said Nowitzki

    WHO CARES WHAT MARK CUBAN SAYS, MARK CUBAN IS AN IDIOT. I KNOW HE IS WISHING THAT KOBE BRYANT WAS ON HIS TEAM.

    KOBE, YOU WERE OUTSTANDING!!!

    • we Don’t have to amnesty KoBe because LA Lakers is 7 times richer than dallas. maybe thats the reason why he would like to suggest that we should amnesty kobe, cause if his dallas has a payroll like that he would be crazy to find money for the tax. his so SELFISH

      • specialfriedrice says:

        I bet the Lakers are glad you dont do their book work…they will be more $100,000,000 over the limit…which will cost them a further $400,000,000…you are aware that is Hundreds of Millions of dollars…just their payroll on players alone not staff will incur the team a total of Half a Billion dollars…every year (that they wana keep Kobe)…NO company/Bussiness can afford to opperate like thats for very long at all…