Quote Round Up: Monday Practice

Here’s a transcription of interviews from coach *Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant from Monday’s Lakers practice.

*Click on each name to watch the full video.

MIKE D’ANTONI

Q: On if the season has officially bottomed out:
D’Antoni: Obviously, it got a little bit more difficult, but this is an opportunity for guys to step up. We have guys on the bench that want to show what they can do, and they’ll have that opportunity.

Q: On if it becomes much more difficult to turn this season around:
D’Antoni: Yeah, a little bit. But the NBA is unforgiving and nobody is feeling sorry for us. There are 29 other teams that are happy and we have to do the best we can do. It’s kind of weird you come to work thinking you have three centers and all of them are hurt on the same day without knowing last night. We are where we are, but we should put a lot of effort on the floor tomorrow night.

Q: On how he’ll manage his playing rotation:
D’Antoni: We’ll go small a lot and we just have to spread the floor and get things going. Like I said, some guys are going to step up and put some superhuman effort into it. We’ll have little guys guarding big guys and we’ll have to be quick and take advantage of the situation.

Q: On the how the timing of this all comes during a stretch where they face Houston and San Antonio back-to-back, and then Oklahoma City at home on Friday:
D’Antoni: It wasn’t good, but again, you can’t worry about the problems you can’t take care of. We got a team to put on the floor and play as well as we can.

Q: On if Dwight Howard will be out more than one week:
D’Antoni: I don’t know that. That’s I guess whatever the update was. I hope not, but we’ll take care of it. We don’t know, but hopefully (he) won’t.

Q: On if he addressed the team regarding the injuries:
D’Antoni: We already talked about it and what we have to do. Guys have to step up. I made sure guys knew because I want to make sure everybody is in the right frame of mind tomorrow.

Q: On if it’s a challenge for the guys with all three big men out:
D’Antoni: We’re ready to roll. Again, we’ll be undersized but we should have a lot of fight.

STEVE NASH

Q: On losing all three big men:
Nash: It’s obviously upsetting when someone gets hurt, especially now when our backs are against the wall. To lose bodies in force like we have, it’s tough. I keep saying no one is going to feel sorry for us. We have to take the challenge and embrace it. No matter how many lumps we take, we can’t give up. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to keep battling. If we keep battling, we give ourselves a chance for good things to happen, but if you feel sorry for yourself, if you complain or make excuses, that’s where you delay the turnaround or prohibit a turnaround.

Q: On if he thinks the season has bottomed out:
Nash: I feel optimistic. We’re down, we’re wounded, we’re struggling. In many ways, we should be in the second week of the season considering we got healthy bodies, a new coach, a new offense. I understand why expectations are high. At the same time, if you look at what has actually transpired with the change of coaches, very little practice time, no major learning time as far as training camp, we’ve been trying to pick it up on the fly on both ends of the floor. We’ve struggled and we’ve had injuries. Not to make excuses, but we have to stay realistic. We’re still in a process and we can’t (make excuses) because we’re in a funk, because we’re losing games, having balls bounce the wrong way and we’re having breakdowns. We can’t get down, we can’t quit, we can’t point fingers. We have to keep fighting, stay with it and realize if we do that, we have a chance. We have a chance to come back, get in the playoffs and be a really good team.

Q: On nearing 10,000 assists:
Nash: It’s hard to really even think about what it means right now because I feel so under water trying to figure out any way to get this team a win, but obviously, to have one scholarship offer, to play in the NBA as long as I have and be on the list with people like Magic Johnson is beyond my wildest dreams. I grew up watching Magic on TV and idolizing him, so to be right there with him on that list is incredibly special, humbling and a tribute to the opportunity to play with a lot of great players in my career.

DWIGHT HOWARD

Q: On his torn labrum:
Howard: It shouldn’t keep me out for awhile. But (I need to) make sure I’m cautious and make sure I get healthy. That’s the most important thing.

Q: On if this injury requires more than a week of rest:
Howard: Depends how fast I heal up.

Q: On how he injured his shoulder:
Howard: It happened in the Clippers game. I was going up and (Caron Butler) was going down, and that’s typically how an injury like that on your shoulder (happens).

Q: On playing against Denver with the injury:
Howard: Yeah, I was in pain. My biggest thing right now is to make sure I’m 100 percent. I don’t want to play with my shoulder weak. That causes me a chance for more injuries, so I have to let it heal up.

Q: On the process of the team gelling and coming together being difficult, but not expecting it to be this tough considering all the injuries now:
Howard: Anytime you want to do something special or great as a team or individually, you have to (be patient) at times. That’s kind of understandable. I didn’t think we’d come together and it’d be all peaches and cream from the beginning. It’s a process.

Q: On the difficulty of suffering an injury like this and recovering from back surgery considering how healthy he had been in the past:
Howard: It hasn’t been difficult. I understand where I am as far as my health and I’ll do whatever I can on the court to help my team. If people don’t understand that, it’s them. Where I was a couple months ago till now, I’m happy with my progress. I’m blessed to be able to play basketball. There’s going to be ups and downs, but we have to stick with it.

Q: On if it’s possible he can get back to 100 percent with an injury like this:
Howard: It is. I want to make sure I’m strong enough to compete where it won’t happen again. That’s the biggest thing.

Q: On if the injury will require any surgery:
Howard: No surgery. It’s just something that takes a little time to heal.

Q: On the advice he’d give to Robert Sacre now that he might start:
Howard: Have fun and play basketball. He knows how to play. We saw him play today in the weight room. He looked good. He got dunked on a couple times, but he played great defense. On offense, he hit his shots in the paint. That’s all you can for from a guy like (Sacre). He works hard and he’s getting an opportunity. I think he’ll make the best of it.

KOBE BRYANT

Q: On how he feels about the whole season, now after hearing the news of all the injuries hitting the team:
Bryant: When it rains, it pours. It’s like the old Mr. Magoo thing. You just try to get through it.

Q: On if he feel the team has hit rock bottom:
Bryant: At some point, you hit rock bottom and then the only place you can go is up.

Q: On how he feels regarding the challenge the team faces:
Bryant: There’s nothing much we can do. But we do have guys that have been practicing hard that have been preparing for their moment, and now they have a moment where they can step in, contribute and do a fine job.

Q: On his thought process on how the team moves forward and Steve Nash’s earlier sentiments about not making excuses:
Bryant: We’re cut from the same cloth in that perspective. We pull our boots up and get to work. Tighten the belt. You don’t worry about making excuses or complaining. You go out there and do your job.

Q: On how he imparts that thinking upon his teammates:
Bryant: You mentally beat it in them (laughs). I think we have that, but it’s been a tough year for everybody – changing coaching staffs, playing and not playing. It’s been a tough year for guys, but I think when you go through a lot of adversity, it really challenges you and then it becomes on you whether you choose to fight or run away from it, and I believe we’ll choose to fight it.

Q: On his demeanor this year considering all that’s happened this season and what has changed on how he would react compared to previous years:
Bryant: I think the patience is a little bit different and the understanding is a little bit different. Just trying to keep things in perspective. You don’t just completely lose your s—, then all of a sudden everybody is scattering around and wondering what we’ll do next.

Q: On the season being in January already and the thought process of just making the playoffs:
Bryant: You want to be playing well, though. That’s something that we’re focused on. You want to be playing better and you want to be playing with a little bit of momentum going into the postseason.

Q: On playing small ball now:
Bryant: We just have to do it the best way we possibly can and try to figure out a way to win with whatever style we’re playing.

Q: On how he tries to keep everybody on the same page now:
Bryant: I try to keep calm. You have to try to keep everybody on pace and keep the eye on the big target. That’s what I try to do.