Kobe Bryant can't help the Los Angeles Lakers from the floor anymore; he's not coming out of retirement to make their injury crisis easier. But he can give assists elsewhere and has probably already done so from his mobile phone.
The Lakers have lost five of their last six games since losing LeBron James to injury. Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Kyle Kuzma have all gone down with various problems within said span.
Fans are understandably unhappy with the team's failure to cope in LeBron's absence, but a section of them are also calling for Luke Walton to be fired.
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Kobe was pretty upbeat after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday and took to Twitter to voice his satisfaction, posting the hashtag "#thankunext".
A particular fan response read: "Tell that to Luke Walton", causing Bryant to take exception.
"Relax. Entire squad is damn near out. Were playing pretty well before that," he shot back.
Walton, meanwhile, has urged youngsters Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to show some more passion.
"They're trying, but they're young," the head coach said this week. "At some point, we need more passion. We need more fight. And that's not scoring more. That's more diving for loose balls, communicating loudly, grabbing [rebounds].
"Brandon had some really nice crack-back rebounds tonight that we can get out and run [from]. We need that all the time from him. So, it's not just them, but until we get healthy again, you got to play in this league with some passion and fire. It's hard to win in this league when you are healthy. So you need to double that effort when guys are down."
What This Means
Kobe's not wrong here. The team was on quite the roll when they were mostly healthy and it was always going to be a challenge without LeBron around.
However, dealing with injury crises is part of what it is to be a team in the NBA. And, that the Lakers have shown that they simply cannot so far, is still worrying.