Byron Scott: 'Bothers the hell out of me' that Lakers struggling in Kobe's last games

ByBaxter Holmes via ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Lakers coach Byron Scott expressed frustration with the way his team is playing asKobe Bryantprepares for the final five games of his 20-season career before retiring this summer.

"It bothers me that his last five, six, seven, eight games are going to be with the way we're playing as a team," Scott said after the Clippersrolled to a103-81 winover the Lakers at Staples Center on Tuesday night. "That bothers me, because you're talking about a champion. That bothers me, because he is a champion. And I hate to see him go out this way. Unfortunately this is the way it's going to be.

"It bothers the hell out of me that somebody who's given 20 years to this league and has played through broken fingers, come back from the Achilles, come back from the shoulder surgery, and he still goes out there and gives it everything he has, that bothers me."

The Clippers opened Tuesday's contest on a 20-2 run and led by as much as 28 to hand the Lakers their 61st loss of the season, tying for the most losses in franchise history with last season's team.

Bryant finished with six points on 2-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes.

Even the Clippers' Chris Paul, who played with Bryant on Team USA at the Olympics, said it's difficult to watch Bryant's career close like this.

"He's a competitor and he wants to win every night," Paul said, "so to see him end like this is sort of tough."

The Lakers were led in scoring Tuesday by 36-year-old Metta World Peace, who finished with 17 points. He last led the Lakers in scoring in January 2013.

"I think I've said this before, it's a shame that Metta and Kobe, guys up in age like that, they come out and play that hard," Scott said. "And our young guys aren't realizing that's how they have to play as well to be successful in this league as well. I would love for our guys to play like Metta, because when he goes out there he gives it everything he has on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive end."

Bryant, 37, said he and World Peace often talk about the intensity they have as compared to other players. Bryant said he doesn't know why others, including his teammates, don't have that same intensity just yet.

"We try to sit there and try to figure out, 'When did we start doing that?' At what age we started doing that," Bryant said. "We try to figure out what that trigger was for us. Metta, as far as he could remember, he was that way. As far as I can remember, I was that way. Watching Metta play in high school, he was that way.

"I don't know. It's hard to comprehend or understand where that comes from. But at the same time, we've seen players not have that at the beginning and then develop that. It's just a matter of them developing it at this point."

How do those players develop that?

"I don't know," Bryant said. "You've kind of got to go through failures and go through, I think, situations where you feel like you're at rock bottom and the only thing to do is to fight back. That's what I think."

Scott has expressed frustration with his young players all season.

"In this league, if you're going to be soft and passive, you're normally going to get knocked out or beat," Scott said. "And that's what's happening to us right now, you have to be the initiator, you have to be the aggressor. And maybe some of the makeup of our guys is just not that, I don't know.

"But if not, they're going to have to change, if they want to survive in this league, because that's how it's got to be. You've got to come out and be aggressive from the start. You can't wait to see how the other team is going to play and then decide, OK, they're going to be aggressive and physical, we better be aggressive and physical. It's too late."

Given how poorly the Lakers' season has unfolded, Scott said it's natural for the players to lose their focus.

"When you're having a tough season, it's human nature to just say, man, let's just get this over with," he said. "But the bottom line is you have to be a professional, you've got to come out and play hard every single night. If it's the last game of the season or five games left in the season, because you're still getting paid.

"If the paycheck was determined on how hard you played, maybe that's a different story. But the bottom line is you're still getting paid to go out there and play and play the best you can or play as hard as you can for as long as you can. And right now, that's what we have to start getting back to."

Before the season, Bryant said he wanted to pass on lessons to his younger teammates. At times, those messages just aren't getting through.

"Patience. It's patience. It comes. It comes," Bryant said. "But it's patience and it's consistency in the messaging."

Information from The Associated Press was used this report.

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