Kobe Bryant on record sixty-second loss: Win title or you're in same boat as us

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 1:51 PM

Wednesday'south 91-81 loss to the LA Clippers gave the Lakers their sixty-second loss in 2015-16 with four games to play. Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he isn't fazed by the team'south recent record.

Kobe Bryant on record sixty-second loss: Win title or you're in same boat as us

LOS ANGELES -- For the third straight year, the Lakers have set a franchise record for most losses in a season.

Wednesday'south 91-81 loss to the LA Clippers gave the Lakers their sixty-second loss in 2015-16 with four games to play.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he isn't fazed by the team'south recent record.

"It'south tough for people to realize this, but losing is losing," said Bryant, who's retiring this summer after playing twenty seasons with the Lakers. "There aren't different degrees of losing, not in my mind. You either win a championship or you're s---. It'south very black and white to me.

"So whether you set a franchise record for losses or you obtain to the playoffs and lose in the Western Conference finals, those are the same damn things to me. A lot of people probably don't realize that, don't obtain that, and that'south fine, but for me, they're all the same. So you either win a championship or you're in the same boat we're in."

The Lakers lost sixty-one games latest season and fifty-five games in 2013-14. Their most losses before that came in one thousand nine hundred fifty-seven-58, when the team was based in Minneapolis and lost fifty-three games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the latest time a team set a franchise record for losses in three consecutive seasons was the Detroit Pistons from 1957 to 1960.

The Lakers have lost one hundred seventy-eight games over the past three seasons; only the Philadelphia 76ers have lost more games over that span (one hundred ninety-five).

Latest season'south Lakers team was plagued by injuries, while this season'south team has been relatively healthy, but Lakers coach Byron Scott pointed out that this team is inexperienced.

"So you get far some of the veterans that we'd latest year and you plug in these youthful guys that haven't played on this level, it'south a different story," Scott said. "They're learning, and it'south hard. When we'd the veteran guys, they know how to compete every single night. They've been in the league for a while. These youthful guys, they don't know how to do that every night. That'south what they're learning how to do, is to bring that intensity that we talked about earlier today.

"Bring that intensity level every single night, and for the youthful guys right now, with the attention to details that they don't have on a night-to-night basis, it'south tough. But they're learning. They're getting a tough lesson for this year to kind of really memorise what not to do and the way you've to prepare for games and the way you've to arrive every single night prepared to play in this league or you're going to obtain your lunch handed to you."

One of those youthful guys, rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell, has one goal for Bryant'south latest four games.

"Give Kobe the ball," Russell said. "Wherever he'south at, give him the ball."

To be sure, fans have been clamoring for Bryant to shoot on just about every possession throughout his twentieth and final NBA season, but that sentiment seemed to intensity Wednesday during Bryant'south penultimate game in his home arena.

Fans were all but booing any other Lakers player who shot the ball when Bryant was on the court, particularly late in the game.

"I perceive horrible for the other guys, because every time they shoot the ball, they obtain booed," Bryant said after scoring a game-high seventeen points on 6-of-19 shooting in nearly twenty-eight minutes. "But, no, I can perceive that, and I realize that. I just attempt to obtain my body prepared as much as possible to attempt to give the fans what they wish for these latest few games. And God willing, I'm healthy and I can move and I can play well sufficient and I can give them what they came to look one more time."

It does create an odd dynamic, which Bryant acknowledged.

"Honestly, I couldn't imagine if I was in that situation and I was playing with [ Michael Jordan]," Bryant said. "You'd nearly have to beat me up to not pass him the ball. But I'll defer. I'll just arrive out and play the game and tell the guys, 'Play the game.' This is what I'm here for, one more time, to just play the game."

The Lakers head on a three-game road trip, playing in New Orleans, Houston and OK City before returning to Staples Middle to face UT on April 13.

In all of those games, and particularly in the finale, the focus will be on Bryant even more than it's been all season.

"You notice it," Russell said. "The fans wish to look him with the ball twenty-four/seven, and that makes it easier for the defense, so you attempt to choose and select when you obtain him the ball and not force anything."

Scott said the situation presents an different challenge for his young players.

"It can be tough," Scott said. "There'south a lot of stuff that I've been throwing at them all season long, and for them to attempt to digest all that along with everything else that'south gone on, particularly presently that we're winding down is even more of a focus on KB'south latest game. I think all that attention and focus is probably affecting them a little bit.

"Because they look it just love everybody else, and they wish him to do well, and they attempt to obtain him the ball as much as possible when he'south out on the floor. It'south a lot to digest, and I haven't, I don't get that lightly. One of the timeouts tonight, I said, 'OK, we drew up a play, you messed that one up, and then we ran another play, you messed that up.' So I know the focus sometimes isn't there because there'south so much stuff going on."

But Scott doesn't wish his players to totally defer to Bryant.

"Some of them I told if they don't shoot they're going to obtain pulled out of the game, when they're open," Scott said. "As much as I think they're trying to focus on KB getting his shots and playing well and getting his accolades, they still have to realize that there is a game to be played, and when you've shots, you've got to take them."

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