After a pair of lackluster losses, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers look to head into the All-Star break on a high note with a road battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. All signs point to a Laker win tonight, as they are facing a team they beat by 55 points last month, a team that has lost 37 of their last 39 games and hasn't won in regulation since November 27, and the Lakers are pissed off. Head coach Phil Jackson held the shortest postgame press conference in history after Monday's loss in Charlotte, using under 10 seconds to tell reporters, "I'm very disappointed in our performance tonight. I'm embarrassed about what we did. That's it."
Jackson had right to be mad, as the Lakers followed up their fewest points of the season on Sunday in Orlando with a 20-point loss to Charlotte, the worst loss of the season (by point margin if not in spirit) for the Lakers. It was the eighth loss to Charlotte in their last 10 meetings. The Lakers look to put all that behind them tonight against a team with the worst record in the NBA. Tonight is the final game of the Lakers' seven-game Grammy road trip, on which the Lakers have gone 4-2.
C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll thinks Jackson already put the Monday result behind him, and in fact did so after the game.
No, I think Phil saw his team get blown out again, get out-worked again, look tired and old and lethargic again, and wanted no part of the same old song and dance with the media as a result. He knew he'd get the same kind of questions that Andrew Bynum did, knew that everyone would be looking for different answers to the same questions that he answered a couple months back, and decided he wanted no part. So he threw the media a bone with some angry comments, allowed them to spin stories of team discord and paint big picture problems, and PJ lived to fight another day. In the war that is the regular season, this was coach Phil's hasty retreat, not his defiant stand.
Tonight's 4:30 p.m. PST game will be televised on KCAL.