And as you might imagine, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't happy about it.
From the team's lack of commitment on defense to its detrimental reliance on Bryant's one-on-one scoring at the end of the game, D'Antoni was steamed. Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell chronicled the laundry list of D'Antoni's complaints, tweeting the following:
Mike Trudell @LakersReporter
D'Antoni said the Basketball Gods don't allow teams to win with such lack of full effort. Mad about 1 on 1 offense, lack of intensity on D.2013-3-23 05:11:59
In a postgame rant that stacks up with any he's ever given, the Lakers coach buried his team, scoffing at the notion that an NBA title was even a remote possibility with the way the Lakers have been playing lately.
KEVIN DING @KevinDing
D'Antoni on Lakers' lack of consistent effort: "That's laughable. Championship? You've gotta be kidding me."2013-3-23 05:12:01
Dave McMenamin @mcten
D'Antoni: "We say 'championship' in the huddle. That's laughable. Championship? You got to be kidding me"2013-3-23 05:10:53
The irony of a ringless coach lambasting his team and calling it unworthy of being in a championship discussion wasn't lost on everyone, as Marcel Mutoni of Slam Online pointed out:
Jokes aside, it's a little troubling that the man who's supposed to be in charge of fixing the Lakers' situation seems to resort to frustrated complaints whenever things look bleak. Pleas for improved effort or a hero to step up and say "enough's enough" don't really carry much weight coming from him.
Because he's the guy who's supposed to have the answers.
The Lakers' official feed captured D'Antoni's desperate sentiment:
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
An unhappy D’Antoni: “Somewhere somebody’s going to have to say “that’s enough,” and lets go play.” Can’t let up after taking big leads.2013-3-23 05:12:51
Instead of lamenting his team's poor performance, it seems like there would be some value in D'Antoni looking at himself and asking whether there's something he needs to be doing differently. In this game alone, there were plenty of instances in which the Lakers coach made questionable decisions.
According to Darius Soriano of ForumBlueandGold.com, D'Antoni's got some explaining to do in areas ranging from his play-calling to his rotational decisions to his use of timeouts:
Darius Soriano @forumbluegold
This game will be the king of second guess games too. No Pau in the 4th, all Kobe O late, MDA's 3rd Q timeout w/ 36 seconds. All of it.2013-3-23 05:00:58
Yes, Pau Gasol was awful, shooting just 2-of-10. And sure, the rest of the Lakers fell right back into the bad early-season habits that kept the team under .500 for most of the year.
The defense was porous, Bryant essentially stopped guarding anyone at all, the offense ground to a halt and nobody seemed to have the answers on the sideline.
D'Antoni has a right to be angry, but at some point, he's going to have to face the fact that complaining to the media is just about the last thing that's going to help his team find its way.
If he hasn't lost it already, his constant negativity in front of the cameras is going to cost him the most important commodity an NBA coach has: the respect of his players.