Kobe Bryant is self-admittedly having one of his best seasons in a while — he’s leading the NBA in scoring at the ripe old age of 34 — but his 15-16 Los Angeles Lakers are having one of their worst. After a 103-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, a game in which twin towers Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard shot a combined 3-19 from the field, Kobe met with reporters and discussed a perceived lack of energy:
‘Cause we’re old as sh*t. What do you want? 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.
Kobe, who has never been one to mince words, didn’t stop with the age-related commentary, especially after being out-gunned by a young Sixers squad:
You just saw an old damn team. 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 a high level of energy. That’s all that is.
The Lakers have seemingly played with a little more pep since the return of Steve Nash, but the combination of age, Howard’s health woes (it’s painfully obvious he hasn’t recovered from back surgery), and lack of contributions from the young players the Lakers actually do have, all adds up to a gloomy .500 record. And, as the Lakers right the ship (if that is what is truly happening), they’re on the outside looking in at the Western Conference Playoffs — they’re currently the 10th seed. Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd today, Kobe addressed concerns surrounding the team’s current state, and its future:
…we’re very concerned, but we’ve been playing well lately. The last eight games we’ve been playing pretty well but the hole we dug ourselves at the start is very deep, so every loss now cuts a little deeper than it should. So we have to keep focused on how we’ve been playing lately and just continuing to get better from that.
Obviously, nobody is writing them off yet (it’s only January 2nd, folks!), but the top teams in the Western Conference — Thunder, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Warriors — don’t seem to show any signs of breaking down.