A long and awkward silence permeated the Lakers' locker room.
Dwight Howard remained seated at his stall, alternating between reading his iPad and thumbing through his phone. Kobe Bryant stayed in the trainer's room receiving treatment while keeping company with his family. And the reporters waiting by Bryant's locker whispered idly to each other.
Among this backdrop, the Lakers' white board displayed this message that coach Mike D'Antoni wrote following the Lakers' loss Thursday to the Clippers.
"Recharge your batteries. Come back ready to play."
But as the Lakers (25-29) enter this weekend's All-Star break with a 10 th-place standing in the Western Conference, Bryant left a message that went beyond believing four days of rest suddenly will boost the team's spirits.
"Just focus on how bad you want it and how important this is," Bryant said.
"I'm not very happy right now. Hopefully my teammates feel the same way."
The Lakers' season wasn't supposed to enter the All-Star break this way.
The Lakers assembled plenty of talent this offseason by acquiring an elite center (Howard), passer (Steve Nash), reserve (Antawn Jamison) and three-point shooter (Jodie Meeks). The Lakers made such deals while also keeping Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Such moves immediately thrust the Lakers' into the championship conversation.
But the unexpected happened.
Lakers face myriad of issues in season's second half
L.A. Daily News | Feb 17