Kobe Bryant took questions from media members after L.A.’s win at Washington for several minutes, before stopping to chat with United States Attorney General Eric Holder.
Among the topics discussed were how Bryant’s body is feeling playing big minutes through back pain and general soreness, going home to Philly to play (Sunday), former teammate Andrew Bynum, how the Lakers should increasingly use Pau Gasol inside when he returns and more:
Q: On why the team was able to get over the hump:
Kobe: We had better ball movement. We moved the ball very, very well. We changed sides of the floor, and guys took shots that were available. Jodie (Meeks) played lights out, Metta (World Peace) played well and Devin Ebanks came in and played well. That’s what’ll happen in this system if we continue to move the ball and guys continue to attack and take opportunities that are presented to them.
Q: On how the team came out defensively in the first quarter:
Kobe: We talked about getting back in transition. That’s really been our Achilles’ heel, and we did a good job of (tonight). They got back in the game by us making careless turnovers and that led to easy points for them. They seized the momentum, then we came back in the second quarter and got it back.
Q: On his back:
Kobe: It’s pretty stiff. It was better going into (Washington’s) game than it was New York’s game, so that’s very encouraging.
Q: On if he knew when his back flared up:
Kobe: Running a lot and getting old. It kind of comes with it. You sleep one time and all of a sudden, your back is jacked up.
Q: On late-game execution:
Kobe: We just read the defense and what they’re doing. If they’re going to come down and double, we just kick it, and then move the ball and get penetration. That’s what we’re trying to do – change sides of the floor and get penetration. You saw a couple times there we went to Metta (World Peace) cause he had the advantage, and he attacked on the perimeter, then myself and then obviously Dwight (Howard) at the end.
Q: On playing heavy minutes:
Kobe: I’m not tired. I’m sore, but when I play, I’m in really, really good condition. I’m just not tired. If you have the opportunity during the game to sit me, you can sit, but I’m not tired.
Q: On going back to Philly and playing:
Kobe: It’s always special. I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s always been fun. Now it becomes even more significant because it’s coming toward the end.
Q: On how things will run through Pau Gasol when he returns:
Kobe: If you’re a guard, you don’t really have to do anything. If you have a shot, you pull it. If you don’t, you go or you pass it. It’s pretty simple. When Pau (Gasol) gets back, we’re going to play through him a great deal. Probably at the start of the shot clock, we’ll move around the perimeter, this that and the other. Last 10 seconds of the shot clock – when we don’t have anything – we’ll post him up. Then he can make plays and make guys better, which he’s fantastic at.
Q: On Dwight Howard fitting in the system:
Kobe: What Mike (D’Antoni) wants him to do is just hit the ball – go set screens, roll down the paint and free guys up. He’s really good at that – by him rolling down the middle of the lane, he makes guys better. At the end of the game when he posts up and they come and double, kick it out and make guys better. If they play you straight up, shoot the ball. If they double you, kick it (out).
Q: On Jodie Meeks’ all-around play:
Kobe: He’s extremely, extremely aggressive. He doesn’t shy away from contact. He loves taking on the challenge on defensively, playing in passing lanes and staying in front of guys. Again, guys that have games like that – he’ll have games like that consistently by us continuing to move the ball and sharing the ball.
Q: On former teammate and current (injured) Sixers center Andrew Bynum:
Kobe: He can do everything. There’s really nothing he can’t do. The biggest thing for Andrew is his health. That’s the only thing that’s limiting to him. When he gets healthy, they have an incredible, incredible center.
Q: On handling those injury issues:
Kobe: He’s pretty even keeled. When he was here, I didn’t have to tell him much. He’s pretty even keeled guy. But he has a temper, which I always enjoy. He was kind of always on edge. I just hope he can get healthy.
Q: On the turning point for Bynum:
Kobe: Coming into the 2010 season, he was ready to make his mark. He got himself healthy and he was determined to have a great year, and he was able to do it.
Q: On if he’s excited about one win:
Kobe: I am actually. I am, I am. I’m very happy to win one damn game.
Q: On if it’s imposing to think of winning two in a row:
Kobe: Coming into tonight, yes, but hopefully we can put something together. I thought we had a pretty good feel of how Mike (D’Antoni) communicated how he wanted the offense to flow in moving the ball, if you have a shot take it and if not, continue to let the ball hop – and we got the message. We did a pretty good job of it. That’s why you saw Jodie Meeks had a big game and Devin Ebanks came in and made big plays.
Q: On the performance of the bench:
Kobe: I think they played extremely well. We got guys that are really stepping up and showing us something in their professionalism and being ready to go – (Devin) Ebanks in particular. He hasn’t been called on virtually all year and his number gets called tonight to step in the starting lineup and he did a fantastic job.
Q: On Steve Nash and how he’s trying to deal with everything:
Kobe: He’s trying to keep it together, he’s trying to keep it together. I can sense the frustration and the antsyness for him to get going. But he’s doing a good job of keeping it under wraps.
Q: On if he remembers short periods of time being off the court for so long and thinking he could help here or there:
Kobe: Oh yeah, it’s always a tough time because you really see a lot of things you can help out with and you’re anxious to get back.