Mike D’Antoni Objects to Kobe Bryant’s Lukewarm Assessment of Lakers’ 10-9 Start

Barely a game into Kobe Bryant's return, Mike D'Antoni and the Black Mamba are already at odds.

The Los Angeles Lakers went 10-9 in a loaded Western Conference without their star shooting guard, remaining within postseason striking distance. Asked about his team's success without him, Bryant downplayed the significance of Los Angeles' record.

"It's not like we were gangbusters before," he said, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.

Ouch. Who poured hot gravy down the Mamba's warm-ups?

ESPN projected the Lakers to finish 10 games under .500 this season, a forecast Bryant himself took exception to. How is he devaluing a winning record achieved without him?

Naturally, D'Antoni disagreed.

"I have to disagree with that," Magic Mike explained, via McMenamin. "We were 6-2 in the last eight [games before Bryant's return] and I thought we played extremely well, winning three [in a row] on the road. ... So, that's not quite right. I'm really proud of what the guys did."

As he should be. 

Bryant is likely proud as well. Again, how could he not be? Voicing his satisfaction is simply asking too much.

The perfectionist in him probably expected more, though. Anything less than a flawless record wouldn't please him entirely.

Remember, this is the same Bryant who was hard on himself following a season debut. Nearly eight months had past since he last played, yet he still felt it pertinent to give himself an "F," according to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.

"Right now my form is a horse's a-- form," he said of his on-court demeanor, per McMenamin.

Few players would have been pleased after going 2-of-9 from the floor for nine points and eight turnovers, but most would have given themselves some leeway under these circumstances. Bryant is working his way back from a ruptured Achilles, and it was never going to come ...

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