Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni calls Kobe Bryant ‘a fan’ after tweets during loss to Spurs
Riding just a “B” or “B-” overall performance, the Spurs easily dispatched the Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series, leaving Kobe Bryant, out with a season-ending Achilles injury, to fume over his iPhone back in California.
“Nothing worse [than] watching your brothers struggle and [you] can’t do crap about it,” Bryant tweeted. “It’s horrible not being able to at least be there with them.”
Bryant’s tweets — which provided thoughts and analysis on L.A.’s play on both sides of the ball — poured forth as San Antonio put together a convincing, if somewhat ugly, 91-79 home victory.
In a televised postgame press conference, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni tried to brush off Bryant’s comments.
“It’s great to have that commentary,” D’Antoni said, rolling his eyes. “He’s a fan right now. He’s a fan. You guys put a little bit more importance on that kind of fan. He’s a fan, he gets excited, I’m sure he wants to be part of it.”
The Lakers’ 15-time All-Star guard referred to himself as “Coach Vino” on Friday.
The Spurs answered some questions in this one, with both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who had missed time in April due to injuries, going off for 18 points a piece. Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds, too, but this was a matter of San Antonio’s depth and unselfishness making up for a cold shooting night. The Spurs’ bench outscored the Lakers’ 40-10, with Matt Bonner chipping in 10 points.
Bryant lightly chastised the Lakers’ defense on Sunday and there’s a chance that blooms into full rage if the Spurs are able to really kick up their attack as the series unfolds.
“Matador defense on Parker,” Bryant said. “His penetration is hurting us. … Gotta keep the Spurs offense in front of our [defense]. They [are] great at penetrating and pitching to their shooters.”
The Lakers aren’t equipped to stop Parker, even with Steve Nash returning from a hip/hamstring injury to play 29 minutes. Nash finished with 16 points (on six-for-15 shooting) but tallied only three assists as the Lakers’ three-point shooting was off all night (just three-for-15 from deep as a team).
Bryant’s solution to the perimeter woes was simple and repeated multiple times: go inside.
“What I would say if I was there right now? Pau get [your] ass on the block and don’t move [until you] get it,” Bryant wrote. “Post. Post. Post. Gotta get to the block. See [what] Spurs [are] gonna do with [Pau Gasol] and [Dwight Howard]. … Gotta milk Pau in the post right now and [Howard]. Will get good looks from it.”
Howard led the Lakers with 20 points (on eight-for-12 shooting), 15 rebounds and two blocks. Gasol added 16 points (on seven-for-16 shooting), 16 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
San Antonio, the West’s No. 2 seed, took a 1-0 series lead over L.A., the No. 7 seed. Game 2 is on Wednesday.