On the heels of a devastating road trip that included a 27-point loss to the Suns and a 19-point loss to the Warriors, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told disgruntled fans they should find a new team to root for.
A string of injuries to key players including superstar Kobe Bryant and its three top point guards -- Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar -- has been a factor in the Lakers' 13-15 start to the 2013-14 season. Criticism of the team's effort in its lopsided road losses caused D'Antoni to bristle as the Lakers return for a Christmas Day nationally televised game against the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
D'Antoni challenged discouraged fans to change their allegiance if they're not will to support the team during tough times.
From ESPN Los Angeles:
"Why would I be discouraged?" D'Antoni said. "We're fighting with a bunch of good guys that played well before and they'll play [well] again. If [the fans] are discouraged, then, you know, find another team to root for. I'm all right. We're not going to give up. Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That's not even fair to these guys.JENKINS: Kobe's latest injury opens door for Lakers to rebuild
"[Missing] the playmaking is a big deal, there's no doubt about it," D'Antoni said after L.A. mustered only 12 assists on its 30 field goals. "But again, we're going to be fine. I don't want to keep harping. I know we have excuses. We're not going to hang our heads and we're going to go out and we're going to battle Wednesday [against the Miami Heat on Christmas Day] and we'll get this done."
"It's like, 'OK, we lost two road games,'" D'Antoni said. "We were 1-5 [on the road] at one time, right? It takes some adjusting. It takes some adjusting. We got to get somebody healthy. We'll be back. We're not going anywhere. We're going to fight and we're going to try to stay above .500. We got a nice homestand coming up, and if anybody hangs their head, then they don't need to be on our bandwagon. We're going to fight and we're going to be fine."