The confessions of the Cavs and LeBron James plus a home truth about the Lakers and Kobe Bryant, all in one column.
LEBRON: I STINK
Bit of a PG-13 way of saying it, but in LeBron’s defence, he did say that success wasn’t going to happen straight away, so why all this shock on the Cavs not living up to expectations? I mean the Miami Heat had these problems in James’ first year there.
You think it’s only a matter of time before the Cavs blow up, and go on a winning streak and reach the Playoffs with ease.
In the meantime, it’s all LeBron’s fault – apparently.
“We got a four-game losing streak, so I stink,” he said. “I’m not doing my job.”
“Me being the leader of the team, if I start hanging my head low then it’s going to start going to everyone else,” he said. “They look up to me. They look to me to make a difference and I’ve got to stay positive even through the rough times. As I’ve said before, this is not the darkest point that we’ll see this year. I’ve seen dark and this is very light to me.”
“This is not the biggest adversity point that we’ll hit,” he said. “Do I think we’re going to get to the finals? I don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds, but from my perspective it’s not as bad as it may seem.” […] “It’s a different feeling,” he said. “But something I was ready for. I knew it would be the biggest challenge of my career thus far, and I accept the challenge. When we lose I take full responsibility and when we win the team wins, that’s what it’s all about.”
DOES JAMES NEED TO PLAY HARDER? ERM … YES!
So says James, anyway. His game has lacked aggression and he feels that he is being too passive. Could that be the reason the Cavaliers are 6-7 right now. [They snapped a 4-game losing streak last night against Orlando].
“Well I can sustain my effort as well, as close to 48 minutes as possible, and the guys that feed off me,” James said Saturday, prior to the Cavaliers’ home game against the Toronto Raptors. “I’ve been kind of waiting around a little bit to see what may happen, sometimes it’s been good, sometimes it hasn’t been good. […] I’ve got a pretty good, clear cut (idea) of what I’m going to be doing going forward, I’m not going to tell you right now, so don’t ask me.”
“We’re just not there now,” he said. “We don’t play to a higher, we don’t play consistently as hard as we can for 48 minutes. And we’re not good enough to take a couple possessions off.”
“When we get really good, sometimes you can allow not to contest a shot here, not get back in transition here, or whatever,” he said. “You know, those are bad habits, but sometimes you can make up for those things. […] When you’re not very good, you cannot consistently just have break downs and think you can make up for it later in the game.”
YOUNG: WE RELY TOO MUCH ON KOBE
Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young says that they rely too much on Kobe but coach Byron Scott disagrees.
We at TB actually agree with Swaggy P on this one, but without Kobe – who do they actually have? Young can give them 15-20 points a game but he is in no way a game-winner.
Bryant is a proven game-winner, but he is not the player he was.
Talking after Lakers’ 101-94 loss to Denver..
Via the LA Daily News:
Have the Lakers become too dependent on Kobe Bryant? […] “Not really,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I thought tonight because of the way they were loading up, they did a great job in forcing them to come at him. When they came at him, he did a great job of finding guys. We just missed shots.”
“At times, we fall into relying on No. 24 a lot,” Lakers forward Nick Young said. “We got to believe in ourselves. I believe in everybody on this team. Kobe is going to be Kobe. But we have to find a way to put the ball in the hole with everybody else.”
Bryant’s 27 points on 10-of-24 shooting featuring him missing seven of his last eight attempts. And though Scott also cited the Lakers’ woes in the fourth quarter and in overtime both from the foul line (7-of-11) and offensive rebound disparity (9-2), Bryant’s shooting accuracy became a topic of conversation. […] “I feel like I took myself out of rhythm a little bit. In the third quarter, I might have been too passive and let the game get away from me a little bit,” said Bryant, who attempted only one field goal in the third quarter. “I tried to gain it back a little bit. It’s a tough balance.”