Kobe Bryant is a Los Angeles Laker, through and through.
If that wasn’t already abundantly clear, he proved that fact again on Sunday night.
Bryant tweeted “#thankunext” with an eagle emoji on Sunday night, referencing the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff win against the Chicago Bears. A fan then tweeted back at him, “Tell that to Luke Walton,” likely referencing the struggling Lakers — who lost Sunday to the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-86, their fifth loss in six games.
Tell that to Luke Walton.
— Bun C (@Raud_MDM) January 7, 2019
So Bryant chimed in, offering his take on the current state of the Lakers.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 7, 2019
“Relax,” Bryant replied. “Entire squad is damn near out. Were playing pretty well before that.”
Now, it was a rough afternoon for the Lakers on Sunday. Lance Stephenson led the way with 14 points off the bench in the blowout loss. Lonzo Ball didn’t score. The Lakers led just once in the opening minutes in the loss, and they had no answer for Karl-Anthony Towns, who dropped 28 points and had 18 rebounds in the win.
It was bad.
However, per Bryant’s point, the Lakers are very depleted.
LeBron James is still out with a groin injury he suffered on Christmas. Rajon Rondo had surgery on his right ring finger and is out, and Kyle Kuzma is sidelined with a back contusion. While three guys don’t make an entire team, the Lakers are trying to play without three of their biggest pieces. That’s hard to do, a fact evident in their 1-5 record since James’ injury.
And, the guys they do have playing are young. Ball and Brandon Ingram are both just 21 years old.
Walton knows it’s going to be tough to win without a healthy roster. To make up for it, it’s going to take extra effort from the bench and the players he does have available.
Until then, Lakers fans, take Bryant’s advice. Relax.
“They’re trying, but they’re young,” Walton said Sunday, via ESPN. “At some point, we need more passion. We need more fight. And that’s not scoring more. That’s more diving for loose balls, communicating loudly, grabbing [rebounds].
“Brandon had some really nice crack-back rebounds tonight that we can get out and run [from]. We need that all the time from him. So, it’s not just them, but until we get healthy again, you got to play in this league with some passion and fire. It’s hard to win in this league when you are healthy. So you need to double that effort when guys are down.”
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Robinson: Keeping Jason Garrett paid off for Jerry Jones
• Warriors-Kings combine to set history for most 3-pointers in NBA game
• 19-year-old Cal DB dies after collapsing during workout
• Deshaun Watson’s streak ends in loss to Colts