Seething Kobe Bryant, Lakers Look To Get Better In New Orleans
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking at possibly matching their longest losing streak of the season, and Kobe Bryant is seething. This time, however, he’s not angry with his teammates.
Bryant will try to shake his own funk and provide a spark for the two-time reigning NBA champion Lakers as they visit the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (21-10) has lost three in a row by an average of 16.7 points, and is in position for its first four-game slide since Nov. 26-Dec. 1.
The Lakers moved closer to matching that dubious mark Tuesday, falling 97-82 at league-leading San Antonio while shooting a season-low 35.4 percent. They’ve connected on just 29.1 percent of their 3-point attempts during the slide, and Bryant is growing increasingly frustrated over the results.
The 12-time All-Star guard called out his teammates following a nationally televised 96-80 home loss to Miami on Saturday, but he’s more focused on himself now.
“I’m just (mad) at myself,” Bryant said after scoring 21 points while making 8 of 27 shots against the Spurs. “(Mad) I didn’t play well. We’re all moody. Everybody’s a little moody right now.”
Bryant has struggled over the last five games, averaging 17.6 points on 39.0 percent shooting while making 4 of 17 shots from beyond the arc.
His 25.3 points per game on the season ranks among the league leaders, and he’s averaged 31.1 points in his last 10 road games against the Hornets (18-13).
Bryant had 31 points in a 108-100 loss in his most recent visit to New Orleans on March 29. The Lakers won the two other season meetings in 2009-10, but they were both in Los Angeles.
The Hornets are struggling to find consistency since their 11-1 start. They’ve won consecutive games twice since then, going 7-12 while averaging 92.5 points.
“I don’t think we’re going from start to finish,” forward David West said. “We have spurts and stretches where we’re solid defensively. In terms of completion, we aren’t going from start to finish.”
New Orleans, though, has been impressive at home, winning its last four to improve to 13-3 there.
A brief return home could be what the Hornets need before weekend games at Boston on Friday and at Washington on Saturday.
They failed at winning three in a row overall again Monday, falling 113-98 loss at Minnesota as its road losing streak reached seven.
“I think this one we’re going to be mad at for a long time,” said guard Chris Paul, who had 22 points and 13 assists against the Timberwolves. “Of course, you’ve got to get over it, but at the same time, we should have beat this team. Bad, bad, bad loss for us. I don’t know, they just beat us.”
Paul could be in for another strong performance. He’s averaged 23.8 points and 11.6 assists in eight home games against the Lakers, but the Hornets have only won three of them.
West, the team leader with 19.3 points per game, had 20 points and seven boards in the latest meeting with Los Angeles.