Mike Brown is just a memory for the Lakers, but the team's losing ways have continued under new coach Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers are 4-8 under D'Antoni and 9-12 overall following Tuesday night's 100-94 loss to the lowly Cavaliers in Cleveland.
"This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too," Kobe Bryant said. "We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we're not, and it's baffling. It's extremely frustrating. It doesn't make any sense. We're still finding ways to lose games."
Said D'Antoni: "The state that we're in, that's inexcusable, and we've got to figure it out."
Lakers legend Magic Johnson said D'Antoni's style doesn't appear to be a good fit with the current lineup. Pau Gasol, who has missed five straight games with tendinitis in his knees, has been criticized for not adapting, but Johnson said the 7-foot Spaniard shouldn't have to change.
"You can't run with these guys," Johnson said. "There's one guy who can get up and down the court, and that's Kobe. You've got to take that ball inside. That's how you win games."
Ultimately, though, it's the team's defense that is getting the most blame.
"We can score points but the defense is breaking down," Johnson said. "We have to correct our defense. Every night guys have to come with passion and urgency."
Following Tuesday's loss, Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who takes pleasure in antagonizing coaches at press conferences, got under the skin of D'Antoni by accusing him of not focusing enough on defense. Responded D'Antoni: "You're starting to piss me off because you're saying something that's not factually correct."
Read more about that story and others, plus check out videos, trivia and more, at Wednesday's Morning Mashup .