Lakers out of whack since Bryant's comeback
By Mark Lamport-Stokes ,Reuters
December 16, 2013, 12:16 am TWN
LOS ANGELES -- Like a jigsaw puzzle where a new piece has been inserted that does not seem to fit, the Los Angeles Lakers have been decidedly disjointed since Kobe Bryant's long-awaited return from injury.
After delivering a surprise 10-9 start to the season with a makeshift lineup amid assorted injury problems, the stumbling Lakers have gone 0-3 since their star player's comeback against the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 8.
A smooth return was never likely for the rusty Bryant, who was sidelined since mid-April after a torn left Achilles' tendon that required surgery, but his presence in the Lakers' lineup appears to have jolted the youthful synergy established earlier this season.
Shooting guard Bryant, a 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, is averaging 11 points and shooting only 38.5 percent in his first three games.
The 35-year-old scored just four points on two-for-six shooting while recording 13 assists and seven turnovers in his latest outing, against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Friday when the Lakers were pummeled 122-97.
“We will get better,” Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters after his team took on Oklahoma City without all three of their injured point guards — Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.
“Check in on us in a couple of weeks and see how we're doing.”