Here’s a transcription of interviews from Kobe Bryant*, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Mike Brown from Thursday’s Lakers practice. The team faces the Golden State Warriors at STAPLES Center tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
*Click on each name to watch the video.
Q: On how he feels physically:
Kobe: I feel pretty good, I feel pretty good. (The foot is) feeling a lot, lot better. It’s slow getting over the last hump, but it’s getting there.
Q: On what stood out on film in the loss against Utah:
Kobe: We had some great opportunities and we had some great looks at the basket that we didn’t make. Their ability to get out in transition and capitalize on easy opportunities was the difference in the game.
Q: On the video of him scowling on the bench:
Kobe: Everybody here would be frustrated to lose a game. You’re upset and you’re angry. It doesn’t have to do with one particular person.
Q: On level of frustration right now:
Dwight: We’re frustrated because we’re not winning, but it’s not the end of the world. (Kobe and I) have been the leaders and we can’t focus on the negative. We can’t sulk into the fact that we’ve been losing games. We have to find a way to overcome it. I told the guys after practice: ‘We have to stick together and still come in here every day, work hard and fight through this phase.’
Q: On rationalizing the loss because of no Steve Nash:
Dwight: I feel like we still had the opportunity to win yesterday. We just gotta put everything together. We have good strings of possessions on the court where we’re doing good, and then we have those breakdowns. We just gotta do it for 48 minutes, and we’ll come up with some wins.
Q: On when he thinks the team will be able to click:
Dwight: We’ll get it; it takes awhile. You’re talking about a team that just came together. We’re trying to figure out how to play together and how this can fit together. Once the noise is settled, we can have a clear mind. We’ll be fine, but right now, we’re just in the growing process and learning each other’s games.
Q: On where he feels the team is at now:
Gasol: Obviously, my emotional state of mind has been different, but this is a different challenge. We, as a team, have a lot of expectations and a new system that we incorporated, guys coming off injuries and guys that got injured and guys that are dealing with injuries, so we have our share of things to deal with. We are dealing with them, and at the same time, we have to deliver and we have to perform, and we want to see positive results just as much as anybody else.
Q: On where he feels his role is with the team and the adjustments he’s had to make with the new system:
Gasol: I try to facilitate things as much as I can. I try to help guys with positioning and options when we run our offense, I try to do my job defensively and communicate out there. At the same time I continue to try and stay aggressive and productive. Those are all the things that go through my mind and that’s my goal every game.
Q: On the most disappointing aspect of the way the team is losing:
Gasol: We all have high expectations for ourselves and for this team. Since things haven’t been clicking – preseason and five games into the season – we can’t get too upset or too frustrated because it could slow us down a little more. I think we’re very close to being at the place where we want to be. We just need to continue to stay together, work hard, be positive, help each other and make this work as a group. Right now, we’re trying to (be positive). We’re going through a tough stretch. We knew we were going to face some adversity. We didn’t predict it’d be early on, but at the same time, I think it’s going to help us down the road to face it now and not later. That’s something that we’re not banking on, but we have to first overcome this moment and start making things happen for ourselves right now.
Q: On how the team feels despite the slow start:
Brown: Guys still believe. Like I said, that’s the biggest thing for us right now, especially when we’re trying to find our way. We had some good instances last night, but obviously, a couple that weren’t so good.
Q: On the importance of the next stretch of home games:
Brown: Hopefully, that’ll help as opposed to playing on the road. Again, it’s a matter of us continuing to try to take steps forward and playing the right way on both ends of the floor. I can see it – Utah hammered us on the glass in the preseason. If you look at their stats, they’ve hammered everybody on the glass so far during the regular season. That’s been one of our Achilles’ heels and we did a better job last night of keeping them off the glass than we had in the preseason. Our transition defense, again, was pretty good last night. Our half-court defense was solid, save for the fact late in the game, we didn’t come up with a few loose balls and they made us pay. But there were positives for us offensively. We had 46 free-throw attempts; I think we had more open looks from going inside out and they just didn’t go in.
Q: On what has disappointed him the most during these five games:
Brown: There are different things. Before we beat Detroit, the two biggest areas were our turnovers and our inability to stop them converting the few offensive rebounds they got into points. Against Detroit, we did a better job of cleaning those areas up. I thought last night we continued to do a better job of continuing to clean those areas up.
Q: On what he sees that keeps him from getting frustrated:
Brown: I’m frustrated. I think we all are frustrated, so don’t get me wrong there. We want to win and we want to win every time we step on the floor. But as a head coach of this team, for me to walk around and mope, is not the right thing to do. I believe in what we’re doing on both ends of the floor and I really think that we’re getting better. I’m going to point out what we’re doing wrong and I’m also going to point out what we’re doing right. I’m not going to beat them over the head with it, but I’m going to keep coaching, keep coaching, keep coaching.