The Los Angeles Lakers are playing the waiting for Kobe game — trying to stay respectable without one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
Los Angeles had its three-game winning streak broken, 116-111 by the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, while Bryant, who signed a two-year contract extension on Monday, watched on television from the locker room.
The Lakers‘ star pledged his loyalty to the only team he’s ever played for in his first public comments about the extension, saying before the game that Los Angeles’ willingness to pay him a reported $48.5 million for the next two seasons makes him want to “run through a wall” for the team.
He won’t play in Brooklyn on Wednesday or at Detroit on Friday as he concludes his rehab from surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon.
“We have to learn how to win with this team. It’s just put together and we don’t have one thing that we go to all the time, but we’ll get it straight,” Los Angeles coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They’re playing hard, and they’re together and we should have won tonight.”
The Lakers are 7-8 but just 1-5 on the road.
Wall, who was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, has scored more than 30 points in three straight games for the first time in his career. The point guard scored 11 points in the final 4:40 to help seal the win.
“No, because he’s going to play better (Wednesday),” Wittman said.
Washington plays at Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Nene had never scored more than 28 points in his 12-year NBA career.
“I feel like wine. You get old. You get better,” the 31-year-old Brazilian said.