For Lakers, Determination is the Name of the Game

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Entering the season, you would have never imagined that by mid-December we’d be lost for words trying to describe the Los Angeles Lakers. As we continue to hold our hopes high, it seems that almost every game is another jab in the side, forcing all of us to ask the redundant question: When is the switch going to flip on?”

After Tuesday night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers looked like an unidentifiable unit, as if they had no purpose out there on the floor.  What will be done to correct the many issues the Lakers face game in and game out? Why are mediocre teams running circles around such a talented team? What assurance does Laker Nation have that everything will be okay?

Kobe sat down with Steven A. Smith in a lengthy interview that aired Wednesday on ESPN, addressing an array of issues from Pau’s contributions to the team, management, coaching changes, and most importantly the poor production this season.

Like the great leader he is, Kobe is there to bring a sense of calm to the chaotic storm that is the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe addressed the issues and explained his approach to the season thus far; it is reassuring to know this team WILL be on track this season… the only question is WHEN?

Every team is going to deal with injuries (I.e. Nash and Gasol), but if there is any positive spin on this it’s that injuries in December are better than injuries in May. This is also a time for players like Chris Duhon, Jodi Meeks and Antwan Jamison to step into a bigger role, and more importantly, the unit as a whole has the opportunity to come together and learn how to push through adversity.

Sure, there is plenty of room to be discouraged, but the season is far from over. During his interview with Kobe, Steven A. Smith asked if Bryant felt his level of tenacity (in terms of turning things around this season), has been matched by his teammates, Bryant responded:

“I’m a bit of a psychopath when it comes to that and I don’t expect my teammates to have that level of concern, but I hope that they’re feeling determined and not discouraged,” “That’s something that we’ll talk about, because there’s a difference. It’s human nature to get discouraged by things- ‘We’re not as good as we thought we were,’ and this, that and the other, but I think at that moment is where you have to dig deep and become more determined and say by any means necessary we’re going to get this thing done, we’re going to turn this thing around, and it has to be a group thing.”

We know the type of player Mamba is. He brings a work ethic to the table that is unmatched by any player in any sport. The thought of losing turns his stomach: “I’ll endure anything to win” Bryant said Wednesday. If the Lakers floor General remains calm, cool and collected through this rough stretch, his teammates will follow suit. This isn’t the first time the Lakers have had to overcome obstacles (and it certainly won’t be the last), but we can keep the faith because this team has an unbelievable skill set. Once the injuries heal and all cylinders are firing in Coach D’Antoni’s system, the Lakers will be an elite force competing with the rest of the league for the NBA Finals.

With no solid victories over any formidable opponent this season, things will not get any easier tonight. Coming off an embarrassing loss and facing the best team in the East, the Lakers have something to prove on the road tonight at Madison Square against the red-hot New York Knicks.

Tipoff is at 8:00 pm EST.

http://lakernation.com/author/mattodonnell/