By Ben Golliver
Few things bring the NBA together quite like the Lakers struggling.
The Lakers fell to 8-10 on Tuesday thanks to a dramatic late-game collapse against the Rockets. Los Angeles played without Pau Gasol, resting because of knee tendinitis, but his low start to the season has been one of the dominant storylines in recent days, as the trade rumor mill threatens to heat up.
Following a surprising home loss to the Magic on Sunday, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant made headlines by softly calling out Gasol for his struggles to adapt to coach Mike D'Antoni's system. FoxSportsWest.com with the quote that was seemingly everywhere earlier this week.
"Put your big-boy pants on,” Kobe said with a trace of disgust in his voice. “C’mon ... just adjust. You can’t whine about it or complain about it. Heck, I’m 34 years old, and I’m running screen-and-rolls out there because Steve [Nash] is out, and my ass is running up and down the court more than I ever have in my entire career.
"But you have to adjust to it. I stay after practice and work on my ball-handling and screen-and-rolls, and when you have the talent to adjust to it, you just ... have ... to ... adjust ... to ... it. We’re not going to lose [Pau]. This is just not going to happen. I’ve been around him long enough to know how to deal with him."
Via ClutchFans.net, Rockets radio voice Craig Ackerman flipped Bryant's phrase for his own benefit while calling the dramatic final possession of Houston's 107-105 comeback victory over Los Angeles at the Toyota Center.
"[Kobe Bryant] behind the arc, raises up for a deep three, he missed it. Rebound, Metta World Peace, he throws it up, no good. Tapped up, Jamison, no good. The game is over! The game is over! The Lakers have just pooped their big boy pants and the Rockets have come from 17 down to win it 107-105."
Ackerman's glee isn't only a product of the Lakers' shortcomings. The Rockets, expected to be one of the West's weakest teams this season, improved to 9-8 with the win.