by Abby Chin (@tvabby)firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Lakers season is over, knocked out of the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs for the second straight year. And no one here in Portland is feeling sorry for Kobe Bryant.
After falling to Oklahoma City 103-100 in Game 4, Bryant chose to throw his teammate Pau Gasol under the bus with his post-game comments. Bryant said, "Pau has got to be more assertive... He's got to be aggressive, got to shoot the ball, drive to the basket, and he will next game."
No doubt, it wasn't a great game for the 4-time All-Star. Gasol managed just 10 points and five rebounds while committing three turnovers, including an ill-advised pass that led to Kevin Durant's game-winning three-pointer. But nothing feels right about Bryant's comments.
The Godfather Dwight Jaynes said something last week on Talkin' Ball that made me do a double-take.
Dwight said Bryant would be a "brutal teammate," hard to play with. Throughout his career we've heard teammates say Bryant has pushed them, challenged them in practice and refused to settle for less than maximum effort. It's that fire and drive that has led the Lakers to five NBA Championships with Bryant. And it's been said, Michael Jordan was the same way.
For that reason, I always thought of Bryant as one of the best leaders in the NBA. I appreciate a person who can call out his teammates, that was something the Blazers lacked this season. But it needs to be done in the right way.
Directly calling a guy out by name at the podium of a playoff press conference for the whole world to see cannot be productive. Especially when that "leader" doesn't take responsibility for his own actions.
Bryant took 10 shots in the 4th quarter, he made two of them. He said himself they were tough shots, so why not pass the ball around? Why not go back to what was working earlier in the game and go inside to the bigs? Andrew Bynum and Gasolcombined to score 2 points on 1-2 shooting in the final period, that's just 9.1 percent of the Lakers shots. While Bryant accounted for 45.5 percent of the team's attempts.
Those post-game comments were even more surprising when you consider how Bryant stood up for Gasol earlier this year when the Lakers had the Spaniard on the trading block. It just goes to show that no one is safe from the wrath of Kobe Bryant.
I read in a recent Sports Illustrated article, "Kobe Bryant may never be happy, and perhaps that's what makes him great." Profound words from the writer Chris Ballard and a harsh reality for any of Bryant's teammates.
Like I said, Bryant gets no pity from Rip City. The Lakers lost game 5 and are done for the season. We will, of course, break down the Lakers demise tomorrow night on Talkin' Ball.
We will also bring you the latest in the Blazers search for a Coach and GM. Things may be heating up with the recent firing of Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith from Orlando. Other teams are reportedly interested in the two candidates that have been brought to interview with Paul Allen.
Here is the latest from Chris Haynes. Our Blazers Insider also reports that Atlanta denied Portland permission to speak with Rick Sund. Check that out here. And then make sure you stop here every day. It's a one-stop-shop for all the latest news and reports from Haynes and Jaynes.
Those two will be with me on Talkin' Ball tomorrow night, along with funny man Ian Karmel. Tune in at 6 o'clock. And if there's anything you'd like to hear, leave a comment, send me an email or a tweet. We'd love to hear from you. See you tomorrow.